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Warning to owners who use pill splitters for pet medications.

Our doctors have become aware of a dangerous accident that can happen when using a pill splitter to prepare your pet’s medications. Pill splitters use a razor to cut tablets. It may be possible for the razor to become dislodged during normal use resulting in accidental ingestion of the razor depending on how your pet’s medication is administered. We recommend careful inspection of your pill splitter before and after each use. Never use a pill splitter that is worn or damaged and if damage is discovered after use make sure to inspect your pet’s medication before administration. Your pet’s safety is important to us. Take an extra moment to check, for their sake.

Cat Vomit: What is Normal and What is Not?

During every routine annual exam we veterinarians do, there is a question we ask: have you noticed any vomiting or diarrhea? Often for our feline patients, we hear “Well, they’ve always been a vomiter” or “two to three times a week, but that’s normal for them”. So, how much vomiting is too much? When does that puddle of vomit stop being just an annoyance and turn into a concern? Long-haired cats may produce a hairball one to two times a month. Short haired cats should vomit less than once every two months. Any higher frequency then this can be an early indicator of underlying disease and should be mentioned to your veterinarian during a regular exam. Any sudden or noticeable increase in vomiting frequency, diarrhea, or concerns of weight loss should indicate a need for a more immediate examination. Vomiting or Regurgitation Your vet will start by asking a lot of questions: firstly to determine whether your cat is vomiting or regurgitating. Vomiting and regurgitation can look very similar in pets, but are actually very different processes. Vomiting involves nausea: you may see drooling, lip-licking, vocalizing prior to the actual vomit. Once it starts, look for abdominal contractions and often rather loud sound effects. Regurgitation is often very passive in comparison: the animal will simply open its mouth and almost spit out water or food in varying states of digestion. Regurgitation does not always happen immediately after eating. Once that is determined, the focus turns to whether the vomiting is because of a primary gastrointestinal issue or secondary to illness elsewhere in the body. To help with this, your veterinarian will perform a thorough exam including an abdominal palpation. This often looks like an unusual upside down belly massage, but they’re actually isolating different organs in the abdomen and feeling […]

What’s My Pet’s Genetic Blueprint?

Canis familiaris originated from wolves close to 100,000 years ago. This canine was domesticated by humans and as a result of centuries of selective breeding, the modern canine species has become quite diverse. From 4 pound Yorkshire terriers to 200 pound English mastiffs, snorting bulldogs to snoozing basset hounds, and from the herding instincts of Australian shepherds to retrieving sporting breeds, humans have bred dogs for certain traits. These breeding practices have focused on preserving  the preferred traits of one generation to the next, but they also manifested in many unforeseen genetic disorders, such as, cancer,  cataracts, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, heart disease, and deafness. The notion of genetic based medicine has been present for years in the veterinary profession. We have known for decades that certain breeds are predisposed to certain diseases and some recommendations can be made based on the breed or genetic mix of the animal. For example, Doberman pinschers are predisposed to a bleeding disorder known as Von Willebrand’s disease, while Maine coon cats and some large breed dogs are predisposed to a heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy.   From glaucoma to urinary stones, there are literally hundreds of diseases that have a genetic link and many of these diseases can be treated if diagnosed at an early age. In 2005, researchers at the Broad Institute (Harvard and MIT) completed the genomic sequence of the dog. Subsequently, in 2007, scientists at the National Cancer Center in Maryland released the first fully mapped feline genome. This monumental research has provided the veterinary profession with the tools to develop genetic tests for a vast number of diseases. The preventative value of such testing can be extremely helpful for patients with these genetic predispositions. It is even more valuable as we look at the potential for objective screening of breeding […]

Furosemide! Is my dog going to the Olympics?

On Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 Seattle Mariners’ second baseman Robinson Cano was suspended for 80 games. This suspension was triggered by a drug test that detected furosemide. For many people and pet owners, furosemide might be a familiar drug name. Also known as “Lasix” or “Salix” furosemide has been used to treat congestive heart failure in humans and animals for many years. Furosemide acts as a diuretic and works by blocking the absorption of electrolytes from the kidneys causing a profound increase in the output of urine.  People and animals with congestive heart failure can have edema (fluid build-up), and furosemide helps to remove this fluid from the body. One of the reasons furosemide is a banned substance in athletics isn’t because it enhances performance at all, but because of the way it increases the excretion of other substances more quickly from the body. Using any diuretic allows an athlete to use a performance enhancing drug and remove evidence from their system before testing. So will your pet be the next Olympic super star because they’re on furosemide? The answer is no.  

What is Leptospirosis?  Should my dog be vaccinated?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease, present worldwide, that can infect both people and animals.  It prefers to live in water and warm, moist environments.  Leptospirosis is more common in dogs; it is quite rare in cats.

Mini-Pigs in the City

Mini-pigs in Seattle If you live in Seattle, chances are you have unexpectedly come across a mini-pig being walked on a leash. Many places classify mini pigs as farm animals, which are not allowed to live within city limits. Seattle is one of the few cities that allows mini pigs as pets; where pet pigs even have city licenses like cats and dogs.

Coyotes In the City

Coyotes are a rare sight in Seattle. Rare enough that when someone sees one, an alert is often issued on social media websites warning neighbors that a coyote is in the area and to be watchful of their pets. Sometimes these appearances are confirmed with dark or distant photos of the wild dogs wandering the city streets.

Dogs Can Get the Flu, Too!

Canine influenza is in the news. The H3N2 variant of the canine influenza virus is the one we are hearing about most often, now. It is originated as an avian influenza virus in Asia which had mutated and become infective to dogs in 2007. The first documented case in North America was in 2015. Since then it has spread to 31 states in the US. Outbreaks of canine influenza occur in situations where dogs are housed together (shelters) or spend time in close contact (dog shows, day care). All dogs are susceptible to infection with the H3N2 influenza virus as it is an illness to which our dogs have not previously been exposed. Even dogs who were vaccinated against the H3N8 influenza virus are not protected against the new H3N2 virus variant. The influenza virus is spread among dogs when respiratory secretions are aerosolized by barking, coughing, sneezing, or through nose-to-nose contact. People can move the virus from dog to dog because the virus can live on hands for up to 12 hours and on clothing and food bowls for 24 hours. The virus can also persist in the environment for up to 2 days. The good news is that the virus is readily killed by commonly used disinfectants.

Our Recommendations For Canine Influenza Virus

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) Seattle Veterinary Associates Recommendations   At Seattle Veterinary Associates (SVA) we feel that it is our responsibility to be conservative with vaccinations and counsel each client on their pet’s individual risk of exposure.  We then customize the most appropriate vaccination protocol based on your pet’s lifestyle and environmental exposure risks.  To date, we have not routinely recommended the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) vaccine based on the very limited presence of the disease in Washington. However, due to the recent epidemiological trends on the west coast, we are now recommending the CIV vaccination for any dog that poses a risk for exposure. These patients are generally the same group of dogs that we recommend receive the Bordetella (“kennel cough”) vaccination. Just like Bordetella, dogs that have contact with groups of other dogs are at higher risk for exposure to CIV. Lifestyle factors include any congregation of dogs; boarding and daycare facilities, dog-friendly workspaces, dog parks, and grooming parlors. Immunocompromised pets, such as juveniles, geriatrics, patients with immune-mediated disease and cancer may be at an increased risk of developing more severe symptoms.