Pets are intuitive, and can pick up on subtle clues in our behavior. Any trepidation in the owner is easily picked up in our behavior by the patient, making their experience at the veterinarian all the less pleasant. Keeping regular scheduled visits are an important part of normalizing the experience for your pet, but some uneasiness comes from the owner’s not knowing precisely what the procedures will entail. To wit, Dr. Suehiro has commissioned artist Dennis Nozawa to illustrate the different procedures we perform here at BHSAH. There will be one procedure featured every month, and they will be added to the new Procedures page in the top menu.
So join our mascot Scout on a detailed illustrated journey through our many veterinary proceduers.
Happy Memorial Day from the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital !
Last year for Memorial Day we wrote a blog post about war and service dogs which you can read here, admiring War Dogs for their courage and sacrifice.
This year we wanted to share the story of a U.S. Marines Dog named Lucca, who received the highest military award possible for a service dog, the PDSA Dickin Medal, after she lost one of her legs while sniffing out bombs in Afghanistan.
Dogs like Lucca make huge sacrifices to help protect our human soldiers, and we are so so grateful to them for their amazing work.
Her owner,Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham, said, “Lucca is very intelligent, loyal and had an amazing drive for work as a search dog. She is the only reason I made it home to my family and I am fortunate to have served with her.”
From the article:
Meet Lucca, a retired U.S. Marine Corps dog who lost one of her legs while hunting for homemade bombs in Afghanistan.
More than four years after she was reduced to three paws, Lucca was awarded a top military medal for the 400 missions she completed during her service.
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals — a British charity known as the PDSA — honored Lucca with its Dickin Medal during a ceremony at London’s Wellington Barracks on Tuesday.
The PDSA says the award is “the highest award any animal in the world can achieve while serving in military conflict” and has given it out just 66 times since 1943.
You may have heard news reports about the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV). While it is not currently a major problem in California or the U.S., we want to address news of the virus to inform and quell some of our clients’ concerns.
The first strain of CIV diagnosed in the world, H3N8, was identified in 2004 in racing Greyhounds at a track in Florida. A vaccine was developed for this strain in 2009.
Another CIV strain, H3N2, which affects dogs, and rarely cats, was diagnosed first in South Korea in 2007, and in the United States in the Chicago area in March 2015.
(H3N2 is NOT the same strain as H3N2v, the swine flu, which effects pigs and humans.)
It is not currently known whether the H3N8 vaccine works to prevent or lessen the symptoms of the H3N2 virus.
There have been no reports of dog flu spreading from dogs to any humans, so do not fear.
We currently have the H3N8 vaccine available at the hospital, but we do not recommend it to our clients, unless it is needed for your pets to travel (some states and countries require it). The dog flu currently does not pose a threat large enough in California to necessitate routine vaccination.
The DHPP vaccine, Bordetella vaccine, Rabies vaccine, and if you’re a hiker or desert resident, the Rattlesnake vaccine, are the inoculations currently recommended to keep your pup healthy and protected.
The doctors at the hospital are monitoring the situation with updates from the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association, and we will change our recommendations if the virus ever shows signs of becoming a larger threat.
SYMPTOMS of CIV
High fever, trouble breathing, loss of appetite, consistent dry or wet coughing, running nose, running eyes, lethargy.
Some dogs with CIV show no symptoms, but some can develop pneumonia and severe respiratory infections.
DOGS AT RISK
Dog who go to dog parks, stay in boarding facilities, or have daily visits in a dog-friendly office are more likely to contract CIV then dogs who are mostly indoors. This is especially true if you live in a state that has had a CIV outbreak, such as Illinois or Indiana.
Older dogs, sick dogs, brachycephalic dogs (Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, etc.), and dogs with a history of respiratory infections will be more susceptible to developing severe respiratory illness and/or bacterial infection as a result of contracting CIV.
The percentage rate of dogs who die as a result of contracting CIV is very low. Some estimates put it as low as 1%, some go as high as 10%.
HOW DOGS GET CIV
H3N8 and H3N2 are very contagious ! It spreads easily from surfaces, air, clothing, and shoe contamination, and dogs can spread the virus for up to 24 days, even if they do not show any symptoms. From the AVMA:
Canine influenza is spread via aerosolized respiratory secretions (via coughing, barking and sneezing) and contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes) and people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. The virus can remain viable (alive and able to infect) on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours.
The incubation period is usually two to four days from exposure to onset of clinical signs. The highest amounts of viral shedding occur during this time; therefore, dogs are most contagious during this 2-4 day incubation period when they are not exhibiting signs of illness. Virus shedding decreases dramatically during the first 4 days of illness but may continue up to 7 days in most dogs and up to 10 days in some dogs with H3N8 canine influenza. Intermittent H3N2 shedding for up to 24 days can occur.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
If your furry baby is showing signs and symptoms of CIV and you think your dog might have canine influenza, bring your dog to the hospital – before you bring your pet in, tell the staff if your dog has been coughing so we can determine if your dog needs to be brought in through another entrance and isolated.
There are two main types of tests, the PCR test, which involves simply swabbing your pets’ oral cavity (throat), as well as the serum test, which requires drawing blood. Currently, the PCR test is more reliable and is the hospital’s first choice when diagnosing CIV.
Treatment depends on the severity of your dog’s infection. Most dogs will not have severe symptoms, and keeping your dog hydrated with fluids and a long period of rest will be all your pup requires. Some dogs have more severe symptoms and develop secondary infections, in which case antibiotics and other medication may be used.
Currently, in California, you do not need to worry about CIV. We do not even recommend vaccinating for canine influenza at the current time. The best prevention is to stay informed, and be on top of your dog’s vaccinations and general health.
Woofstock 90210 has been rescheduled to Sunday, June 26 ! Bring your pups and get your fun on, you won’t regret it 🙂
Get ready for Woofstock 90210 ! Bring your pup and get your family picture taken at the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital booth, and enjoy the dog agility demonstration, the pet talent show, and all the gourmet food trucks. Can’t wait to see all of our clients there !
Below is a list of breed-specific rescues in California, organized alphabetically by breed name.
Preference towards a breed or desire for a designer dog should never be a deciding factor when trying to decide between adopting or buying.
Adopting a pet, instead of buying one, ensures that an animal who’s already out there, waiting in a shelter or rescue for a loving home, finally gets the best thing she could ever ask for – a loving and happy life.
Adopting a rescue dog also helps the rescue or shelter organization you adopt from continue its work rescuing and caring for animals in need.
BREED SPECIFIC RESCUES IN CALIFORNIA, Listed by breed name
This is by no means a comprehensive list, so if there is another organization you know of or work for, please email us to let us know, and we will add it !
American Brussels Griffon Rescue Alliance and American Affenpinscher Rescue
Melanie Bellomo Shifflett has completed a remarkably difficult challenge – she passed her RVT exams ! Becoming an RVT, or Registered Veterinary Technician, takes many hours, dedication, knowledge, and skill, as well as excellent test-taking abilities, and thankfully, our lovely Melanie possesses all of these qualities.
Even more incredibly, Melanie studied for and passed her exams during her pregnancy, after her labor, and during the first two months of her son George’s life. She is truly a Superwoman !
Melanie’s career at the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital spans an entire decade. She first began working at the hospital in 2005, after she met Dr. Suehiro at the Porter Ranch YMCA. Dr. Suehiro invited Melanie to volunteer at the hospital, and once she set foot here she never left.
Melanie already had a degree in Animal and Equine Science from the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences, but she had no experience with cats or dogs. She did not let that stop her ! Melanie went from being a volunteer, to a doctor’s assistant, to a lead technician, and now the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital’s resident Registered Veterinary Technician.
Registered Veterinary Technicians in California first have to take an exam that is specific to the laws and procedures of the state. If they pass the state exam, they then need to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which all RVT’s are given. Melanie passed both tests on her first attempt.
The topics covered on the exams are extremely varied and nuanced, and are not relegated to just cats and dogs. Turtles, snakes, pigs – questions about pretty much any exotic or large animal can be asked on the RVT exam. Some of the areas covered on the exams are:
We are so proud of Melanie, and could not have been less surprised with how well she has done. As Dr. Winters calmly said when we asked him if he was excited that Mel had passed her exams, “I figured she would.” Us too.
Here is a tender statement Dr. Suehiro wrote about Melanie’s work at the hospital – Enjoy:
I met Melanie 11 years ago through a friend at the YMCA. I remember the first time I met Melanie, when I went mountain biking with my friends and she greeted me with one of her signature warm hugs. I am not a touchy feely person, but she was so warm and sincere about it that I let it slide. Later, I found out that Melanie graduated from Colorado State University as a pre-veterinary student, but did not pursue the veterinary track. At the time, Melanie seemed lost and unsure about her future. I really liked her warm outgoing friendly upbeat personality, so I asked her to volunteer at our hospital to maybe find her passion in the veterinary field again.
During her 11 year tenure here, Melanie has flourished and developed into one of our most loyal, devoted, and cherished employees at our hospital. Melanie displays the utmost honesty, integrity, character, and compassion. Her excellent interpersonal and communication skills makes her invaluable. She has worked in every department in the hospital from kennel attendant to hospital manager. She treats all the animals, clients and our employees with genuine compassion and respect.
Now, Melanie is a registered veterinary technician and the head technician of the hospital. I am so pleased and proud of how she persevered and achieved this accomplishment. I feel blessed that I have someone like Melanie at my side. Not only does she run and supervise the intensive care and surgery areas of the hospital but I also rely on her for advice on running the daily operations of the hospital.
I congratulate Melanie on her latest accomplishment. Melanie has a wonderful gift to help and care for animals and people. I hope she will continue to utilize her special gift and develop her skills as a registered technician. I expect that Melanie will help the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital become a progressive compassionate hospital for years to come. Please don’t leave any time soon.
As a follow up to our post from last year about the terribly cruel and environmentally devastating practice of shark finning for Shark Fin Soup, we’d like to share this great campaign that was spearheaded last year by former NBA super star Yao Ming.
After retiring from the Houston Rockets in 2011, Yao Ming returned to China and began a career of advocating for animal rights as a celebrity ambassador for WildAid; in particular, Yao has focused on the traditional Chinese practice of shark finning for Shark Fin Soup, which entails catching sharks, axing off their fins while they are still alive, and dumping them back into the water, where they ultimately die from starvation and suffocation, or are eaten by other animals.
Here is one of the videos Yao Ming made with WildAid to raise awareness about the cruelty of shark fin soup.
Sharks, vital creatures at the top of the marine food chain, are suffering tremendously under this practice, with over 55% of shark species now close to extinction due to excessive hunting by shark fishermen. Currently, approximately 73 million sharks are killed for shark fin soup each year. The enormous growth of shark hunting is partially due to the growth of China’s affluent middle class. As the affluent middle class in China has increased exponentially in the last few decades, the demand for shark fin soup, a dish that is traditionally a symbol of wealth and status, has increased as well.
Several U.S. states and territories have banned the sale and possession of shark fins, including California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Illinois, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands – but there is still a dire need for legislation in the U.S., China, and around the world where the practice of shark finning continues to be prevalent.
Organizations such as WildAid,Stop Shark Finning, and Shark Truth are committed to saving our sharks from an inhumane death and preventing our marine ecosystems from suffering a devastating loss. Join them in their campaigns or just spread the awareness to your friends and family !
Hanukkah may be over, but we still have Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve left in 2015! And no matter what you celebrate, the love we have for our pets is a universally celebrated tradition.
Keeping your pets safe over the holidays is easy !
Just being careful with unsafe items and leaving them out of the reach of curious paws can make all the difference.
Here are a few tips to make sure this holiday season is a happy AND safe one for your pets.
Menorah lights, Kinara candles, and Christmas votives are beautiful traditions, but keep them away from the tails and paws of cats and dogs.
Do not put lit candles in the way of roaming curious pets, and make sure to blow out any candles before leaving a room or the house.
The fringe-like fur of a tail can easily burn when swept alongside a lit candle, and a rambunctious dog can easily knock into a candle that is sitting on a low coffee table, causing a tablecloth or rug to catch on fire.
2) Holiday Plants
Poinsettias are toxic for pets. So are mistletoe, holly, holly berries, rosemary, and lilies. Lilies can also cause irreversible kidney failure in cats (lily nephrotoxicity).
Almost all holiday-themed plants should be kept far far away from your pets’ mouths.
The degree of toxicity depends on the weight of your pet and the amount of the plant your pet has eaten. If you suspect your pet has ingested an unsafe amount of a holiday plant, take your pet to your veterinarian right away.
Signs of toxic poisoning include vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, seizure, collapse, and unconsciousness.
3) The Tree
The tree ! Whether it’s real or fake, the tree is anything but safe for your pets. Especially for kitties. Kitties looooove to make trouble with the tree.
Keep lights high! Don’t let dogs and cats chew on low-hanging lights and give themselves an electric shock.
Use safe decorations – go for plastic instead of glass, in case the ornaments get knocked off the tree or end up between jaws – Plastic ornaments won’t shatter as easily.
Keep ornaments with string and whispy angel hair out of the reach of your pets as well, to prevent any chance of dangerous string ingestion. Read more about linear foreign body dangers in our previous blog post here.
If your kitties love to climb the tree, make sure to anchor your tree to the wall, or give it a heavy, sturdy base, to prevent the tree from tipping over and hurting your pets or possibly causing damage to your home.
If your tree is REAL – keep cats and dogs away from tree water!
The tree water can contain insecticide, pine resin, and chemicals, everything your cat or dog should not ingest. The pine needles themselves are very dangerous for cats and dogs to digest – they can cause perforations or obstructions in the G.I. tract if ingested, and are toxic.
A couple of tips for keeping pets away from the tree:
Put aluminum foil around the base of your tree. The noise will alert you when pets are too close, and the noise itself may scare pets away.
Use a tree skirt to cover up tree water and the bottom portion of your tree.
Use strong citrus scents around the tree. Cats and dogs may not like these smells and may leave the tree alone because of them.
4) Holiday Foods
Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, which is toxic to both dogs AND cats.
Grapes and raisins are toxic for cats, dogs, and ferrets as well. Ingestion of grapes and/or raisins can cause acute (immediate) kidney failure in pets.
Excessively fatty foods (such as fat scraps from meats), foods with onions, foods with garlic, and foods with bones should not be given to your pets.
Foods with lots of fats and oils can upset your pets’ digestive systems. Onions and garlic, fresh and in powder form, can cause anemia in cats as well as dogs. Onion and garlic poisoning can have a delayed onset, so if you suspect your pet has ingested them, contact a veterinarian immediately.
Be mindful over the holidays of what leftovers and what treats you give to your pets. We all want our beloved animals to join in on the festivities and to make them feel like they are part of the fun, but let’s do so in a way that will not make them sick or compromise their health.
5) Alcohol and Caffeine
Toxic for your pets! Keep away!
6) Sugarless Gum and Candy containing Xylitol
Toxic for your pets! Keep away! Most sugarless gum and candy include xylitol as an ingredient.
If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic or poisonous, don’t wait ! Contact a a qualified pet poison hotline immediately, such as the ASPCA animal poison center at 1-888-426-4435.
Know the symptoms of toxic poisoning: vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, seizure, collapse, and unconsciousness.
Happy Holidays from the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital! We hope that no matter what tradition you hold dear, that you celebrate it with loved ones, good fun, good cheer, and lots of warm snuggles.
Photo credits :
Mountain Dog looking guilty in front of the tree photo:
Four pounds of courage! Yorkie Doodle Dandy! Angel in a Foxhole!
These are all nicknames for the infamous WWII war dog, Smoky, a female Yorkshire Terrier found in 1944 in an abandoned foxhole in the New Guinea jungle.
After trading a G.I. two Australian pounds for the small pup, American Corporal Bill Wynne, who would became Smoky’s lifelong companion, trained Smoky to parachute from tall trees, run telegraph wire through small pipes (sparing the soldiers this life-threatening work), walk tightrope, and eventually to become one of the first therapy dogs on record by comforting injured soldiers.
Smoky served in 12 combat missions in the South Pacific and was awarded 8 battle stars. The brave little Yorkie lived to be 14 years old, passing away in 1957. Her human, Bill Wynne, wrote a book about his experiences with Smoky titled Yorkie Doodle Dandy: Or, the Other Woman Was a Real Dog, published in 1996. Several memorials were built to memorialize Smoky’s service, including the one pictured at top at the Cleveland Metroparks in Lakewood, OH, right next to the location of her final resting place.
A big thank you to Smoky and all war dogs on this Veteran’s Day ! We appreciate you !
Gastric torsion, or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), is an all-too common cause of concern for owners of large breed dogs.
Gastric torsion is also often (incorrectly) referred to as “bloat,” but bloat can occur without the stomach twisting – gastric torsion is an emergency situation.
Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds in particular, are all at high-risk for this life-threatening and often fatal condition. Great Danes have a 40% chance of having gastric bloat in their lifetime – meaning, approximately 1 in 3 Great Danes will have gastric torsion!
Other breeds that are at high risk for GDV are Gordon Setters, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Weimaraners, Saint Bernards, Irish Setters, Standard Poodles, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Basset Hounds are one of the few medium size dogs that are also at risk for GDV.
If your large dog is male, and is middle-aged or older, their risk for this condition increases even more.
Gastric torsion can occur in medium and small dogs, but it is very rare.
What is Gastric Torsion?
Gastric torsion is a life-threatening condition in which a dog’s stomach will dilate and then literally twist around and flip over inside the abdomen. This causes an increase in pressure in the abdomen due to the build-up of gases, blockage of blood flow to the heart and stomach, tearing in the stomach wall, and difficulty breathing. Without treatment, a dog will most likely die within 24 – 36 hours, sometimes much sooner. With immediate treatment (rushing to the vet as soon as symptoms are suspected), the rate of survival is increased, but unfortunately, cannot be guaranteed.
Will My Dog have Gastric Torsion?
There are a few factors that increase a dog’s likelihood for developing GDV. If your dog is a large breed, such as the breeds listed above. If your dog is a purebred. If your dog is middle-aged (about 7 years) or older. If your dog is related to other dogs that have had gastric torsion. These are all factors that will make your dog more inclined to develop this condition.
How Do I Know if My Dog Has Gastric Torsion?
If your dog develops these symptoms, it is time to RUSH to the hospital:
-Trying to vomit with nothing being produced, or Retching
-Chest and/or stomach is tight to the touch
-Whining or crying
-Sensitivity to moving or being touched
-Looking at his abdomen
-Standing with head down and legs apart, may be shaking
-Rapid shallow breathing
-Pale or off-color gums (dark red in initial stages of GDV, pale white or blue in later stages of GDV)
-Rapid heart rate
How to Prevent Gastric Torsion
Things you can do at home to prevent GDV are surprisingly simple!
-Feed your pup several small meals a day, instead of one or two large meals.
-Do not let your dog drink large amounts of water directly before or directly after eating.
-Wait at least ONE HOUR after your dog eats before permitting him to exercise or before introducing your dog to stressful situations – such as playtime, breeding, public interactions, bathing, etc. Stress and anxiety are considered to be major causes of the onset of GDV.
-Do not feed your dog very fatty foods – look at the ingredients on your dog food label. If oils are one of the first few ingredients, consider switching to a different type or brand.
Prophylactic Gastroplexy Surgery
A surgical way to prevent GDV from occurring is also available. Gastroplexy is a prophylactic (preventative) procedure in which the stomach is sutured to the wall of the abdomen, preventing the stomach from turning or twisting.
For females, this operation can be done during a spay, as no additional incisions need to be made. Our surgeon, Dr. Ford Suehiro, recently performed a prophylactic gastroplexy on a 6 month old female Great Dane during a routine spay, and she has recovered nicely.
For males, the surgery can also take place at the same time a neuter is performed, but an additional incision needs to be made to reach the abdomen.
If your dog does not need a neuter or spay, and you would like him to have a gastroplexy, this is of course possible, as gastroplexy is a routine surgery.
The recovery time for females and males after gastroplexy is 1 – 2 days.
Whether or not your pup should have a gastroplexy depends on their risk factors, such as the factors listed above – have the dog’s relatives had gastric torsion? Is your dog a purebred that has a high risk for gastric torsion?
If you think your dog would be a good candidate for gastroplexy surgery, and you would like to talk to Dr. Suehiro about the possibility of your dog having this procedure, please feel free to call the hospital and ask for a consultation. If your pup is at high risk for gastric torsion, a prophylactic surgery may be a smart move.