Monday, September 21, 2015

Dog Intelligence

Hi everyone!  Have you ever wondered how smart your dog is?  Does he or she really experience "happiness" when you come home from work or is just excited to be fed?  Wanda mentioned a 60 minutes episode she watched this past weekend that had me intrigued.  I had to take a look myself.  It's a little over 13 minutes long but I feel is quite enlightening.  Take a look at this link and enjoy!

-Dr. C

Friday, July 24, 2015

Heartworm disease: What is it and why should we prevent it?

Happy July everyone, I'm going to briefly discuss heartworm disease in the dog and cat.  In short, heartworm disease is a parasitic disease that is spread by the mosquito into an animal's blood stream where it grows to be an adult worm and often resides within the heart of a dog or cat.  It is often times fatal, but can be prevented.

An infected mosquito will land on a dog or cat and in the process of obtaining a blood meal transmits heartworm larvae into the animal via saliva.  The larvae continues to develop for approximately 2 months within the animal's tissue.  The larva then develops into an adult in the animal's blood stream which takes around 4-5 months.  This is a period when sometimes a blood smear can be done to see "microfilaria" or tiny worms in the blood stream.  This is also the same time when worms will start to reside within the pulmonary artery of the heart.  After about 6 months the adult worms become mature adults and can reproduce and produce more larvae.  Mosquitoes can then "retrieve" these larvae and go on to infect other dogs or cats.  Heartworm in cats follows the same life cycle however larvae in cats seldom develop into adult worms because they are atypical hosts of heartworms (like humans).  Sometimes this means cats may have heartworm and show no clinical signs.  However, even the immature worms can cause death in cats.

The heart, as we all know, is critical in life.  The pulmonary artery is a vessel that exits the heart in order to transport blood that needs to retrieve oxygen from the lungs.  When it's occluded in any way, that means that blood that needs oxygen, has a harder time getting it.  The heart will want to pump harder or faster which causes the heart muscle to enlarge resulting in heart disease.  It also means that if any worms get swept "downstream" they can lodge themselves into the lungs which is a fatal condition known as pulmonary thrombosis (lung clot).  Take home message is that these worms, when in a high enough concentration, will cause heart disease.

Heartworm has been found in all 50 states.  It definitely is more prevalent in certain regions (Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, etc) but the prevalence is increasing.  To add, each state has its own microclimates throughout like irrigation ponds, reservoirs, and backyard ponds making it difficult to say "heartworm doesn't exist in my county".  There have been 80 cases in Oregon in 2015, most noted in southern Oregon, but a few (7) even in Marion county.  I should add this is only a number from a study done by Idexx Laboratories, which means this does not include a lot of the in-house heartworm testing done in veterinary clinics.  The number is likely higher.

You may wonder why is heartworm more prevalent in certain areas of the U.S.  The answer is climate, temperature and humidity.  In order for larva in a mosquito to become infective it must go through several temperature changes.  8-10 days at 82-86 degrees, followed by 11-12 days at 75 degrees then 16-20 days at 71 degrees.  This is not exact and just a set of ranges.  If you think about it, most of Oregon could fit this picture, especially due to this year's warm weather.  Luckily development stops at around 57 degrees, though if the temperature warms up again the cycle can restart itself.

Prevention is crucial because treatment of heartworm disease can be costly and carry a significant amount of risk.  We recommend year round prevention for dogs.  There are several forms of prevention that are offered and most often is as easy as a monthly pill.  Currently, we carry Interceptor which prevents heartworm disease as well as treats hookworm, roundworm and whipworm infections.

This was just a brief summary about the important aspects to know on heartworm disease.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call!  Thanks for reading.
-Dr. C


Key factors influencing canine heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis in the United States.
H. Brown, L Harrington, et al

Monday, July 20, 2015

*NEW* KidneyTest

We've mentioned to a handful of clients about a new kidney test that was becoming available this summer.  Well now its here!  The test is called SDMA (Symmetric dimethylarginine) and allows us as veterinarians to provide a better and more accurate picture of kidney disease in your cat or dog.  In the past, we looked at two values when trying to figure out kidney issues in companion animals.  These values are called BUN and creatinine.  In dogs and cats with kidney disease, these values were generally increased.  However, in most cases, the kidneys are likely 75% damaged by the time these values are raised above normal reference values.  As you can imagine, we sometimes can't diagnose kidney disease till late stage disease.  Now, we can run an SDMA with the BUN/Creatinine and discover kidney damage much earlier (at approximately 40% damage).  This is great news because we can manage the disease sooner.  Please give us a call if you have any questions or would like to schedule a screening.
-Dr. C

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Prescription Veterinary Diets

What is a prescription veterinary diet?  These diets have been specially formulated to help treat or manage a diagnosed condition.  There are a variety of these types of diets and several manufacturers.  SPVC carries both Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets and Hill’s Prescription Diets.  If the situation calls for it we also have the ability to order Royal Canin’s Veterinary Diets.

Veterinary diets can be used in the management of a variety of conditions including renal disease, skin conditions and food hypersensitivities, diabetes, dental health, cardiac health, gastrointestinal conditions, joint conditions, obesity, urinary tract conditions and several others.

There are even prescription treats available so your pet can still get treats even if they have other dietary restrictions.

There are also probiotics available for dogs and cats that can be prescribed if appropriate.

If your dog or cat has been diagnosed with any chronic medical condition and you would like to discuss if any prescription diets might be appropriate for your 
pet, please call our office.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets - Canine
Hill’s Prescription Diets - Canine
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets - Feline
Hill’s Prescription Diets - Feline
DCO Dual Fiber Control
w/d Digestive/Weight/Glucose Management              
DM Dietetic Management
w/d Digestive/Weight/Glucose Management,
m/d Glucose/Weight Management              
DH Dental Health
t/d Dental Care
DH Dental Health
t/d Dental Care
DRM Dermatologic Management
d/d Skin/Food Sensitivities

d/d Skin/Food Sensitivities
EN Gastroenteric
i/d Digestive Care
EN Gastroenteric
i/d Digestive Care
HA Hydrolyzed
z/d Skin/Food Sensitivities
HA Hydrolyzed
z/d Skin/Food Sensitivities
JM Joint Mobility
j/d Joint Care,
Metabolic & Mobility Weight and Joint Care

j/d Joint Care,
Metabolic & Mobility Weight and Joint Care
NF Kidney Function
k/d Kidney Care
NF Kidney Function
k/d Kidney Care
OM Select Blend Overweight Management
r/d Weight Reduction,
Metabolic Weight Management
OM Overweight Management
r/d Weight Reduction,
Metabolic Weight Management
UR Urinary Ox/St
c/d Urinary Care,
s/d Urinary Care,
u/d Urinary Care
UR Urinary St/Ox
c/d Urinary Care,
s/d Urinary Care,
Metabolic & Urinary Care

a/d Urgent Care

a/d Urgent Care

b/d Brain Aging Care

g/d Aging Care

g/d Aging Care

h/d Heart Care

I/d Liver Care

I/d Liver Care

n/d Critical Care

y/d Thyroid Care

-Jennifer D'Amato-Anderson, MS (Animal Nutrition)

Friday, June 12, 2015


Now that I have your attention I thought it'd be a good topic to discuss common household and environmental poisons to dogs and cats :)  Many people are aware of things like chocolate and anti-freeze but I'd like to go a step further and mention a few lesser known toxins.  First off, a lot of dogs are like living vacuum cleaners and will happily "help" you around the house by cleaning with their mouths.  This is why it's so important to know what they can or cannot "clean" by ingestion.

Chocolate: Most everyone know this one is bad for dogs.  The biggest reason it tends to be "poisonous" to dogs is that they ingest A LOT of it.  Most of the time they won't stop like a reasonable human, they could easily scarf down a Costco size box of Hershey's kisses.  Theobromine (along with caffeine) is the main toxic component of chocolate.  Baker's chocolate has the highest amount and is therefore the most toxic.  A sweet milk chocolate (Hershey's Kiss) would have the least amount.  It also depends on the size of the dog, but if your 70 pound Labrador eats a few Hershey's kisses he or she will be fine.  Your 22 lb dog that eats 20 ounces of milk chocolate or just over 2 ounces of baking chocolate would be ingesting a toxic dose.  If your dog ingests any amount of any chocolate please give us a call.

Raisins/Grapes:  Raisins are bad for both dogs and cats.  Resist the urge to ever use either as a treat.  They taste delicious, but they can put our pets into kidney failure.  No one really knows why they can be toxic to dogs and cats.  In fact, some dogs can have a bag full of grapes and be fine.  Others can eat 5 and go into renal failure.  So it seems that it is animal specific, wish we had a better explanation.

Lilies:  This one is for cats and includes any lilies from the genera Lilium and Hemerocallis.  Easter lilies are a big one during spring time especially for indoor cats.  Cats can go into sudden kidney failure by messing around with these flowers.  Ingestion of only a few leaves has resulted in death.  They are found in MANY normal floral bouquets, so if you have any around the house make sure they are far from where your cats can get to.

Gum (with xylitol sweetener):  Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used in many different gums.  It causes a drop in blood sugar in dogs and sometimes liver damage.  This can lead to tremors, weakness, seizures and in severe cases death.  Xylitol toxicity is dose dependent and it's often very difficult to tell how much xylitol is in any given piece of gum.  For some reason, a lot of dogs love gum.  My dog Fuji loves fresh breath and has been to the clinic several times for ingesting my gum packs (wrapper and all).  It's not fun, so best to keep gum away from dogs or purchase gum that does not have xylitol as an ingredient.

Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen (not an NSAID), ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.  To include topical creams that contain NSAIDs that your pet could lick off of you.  This applies for both dogs and cats as they are not small humans.  Metabolism is different and therefore human products can be dangerous.  Yes, there are certain ones that MAY be used in dogs and cats, but there are safer pain medications specifically formulated for dogs and cats available at any veterinary clinic.  Cats in particular are VERY sensitive to all NSAIDS.  Their kidneys have a tendency to suffer damage quite easily, which is why drug companies have come out with specific NSAIDS approved for cats.  Even those are not labeled for long term usage.  Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can kill a cat, don't use it.

Hops: Yep, the bitter stuff in beer.  Most people won't have a big issue with this one unless you're a home brewer or use it in gardening.  It affects some dogs more than others.  Dogs suffer from what is called "malignant hyperthermia".  They get really hot, pant, shake, become agitated and in severe cases can die.  Chances are no beer is going to contain enough hops to do anything but I would still say no to giving big ol' Brutus a couple of pints of Dead Guy Ale mainly because there's the whole "alcohol toxicity" part of it.

Onions: Yes, unfortunately onions, or even onion powder can be toxic to dogs.  The toxic dose is unclear but any onion product should simply be avoided.  It has been shown to cause hemolytic anemia in dogs, which means their red blood cells rupture due to toxicity.  This can lead to death.  Onion powder may even be worse on a weight basis because it can contain much more actual onion than one might think.

This is just a short list of common household items that sometimes we as pet guardians don't think about.  When in doubt about anything, don't hesitate to give us a call.  Happy June!
-Dr. C

Friday, June 5, 2015

Body Condition Scoring

Often clients ask how much their pets should weigh, but rather than focus on a specific weight it is often better to consider total body condition which is where body condition scoring comes into play.  Body condition scoring is a helpful tool to ensure that your pet is at a healthy weight.  It combines visual assessment with palpation of specific areas of your pet’s body.  There are different scales but they all range from underweight to overweight.  On a nine point scale an ideal body condition is generally scored with a five.  Once you become familiar with the scale it can be used routinely to assist you with maintaining a healthy weight for your pet.  If you try out the scales below and discover your pet is not at an ideal score we are happy to help with suggestions on how to get your pet to a healthier weight.  Also if you would like us to body condition score your pet to compare with the score you arrived at or just to give you a starting point we are happy to do so.

-Jennifer D'Amato-Anderson, MS (Animal Nutrition)

References: Body Condition Scoring System Nestle Purina PetCare Company
Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition, First Ed. Edited by Andrea J. Fascetti and Sean J. Delaney.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why can’t I feed my cat the same food as my dog?

The main reason you should not feed cats and dogs the same food is that they have different nutritional requirements and pet food is formulated to meet these different requirements.  This difference in requirements stems from their differences in metabolism and metabolic adaptations.  Dogs are omnivores and cats are obligate carnivores.

The canine digestive tract has developed characteristics that allow digestion and usage of a diet with a variety of ingredients.  For instance dogs have enzymes to digest starch effectively and so tolerate dietary carbohydrates well.

Cats on the other hand have dietary requirements that other mammals do not such as their requirement for taurine and arachidonic acid.  Also cats have a much higher dietary protein requirement than dogs.  As carnivores, cats must have part of their diet made up of meat to obtain nutrients such as arachidonic acid while dogs do not.

If you only feed your cat a pet food made for dogs, your cat’s nutrient requirements will not be met and your cat will suffer nutrient deficiencies and die.

-Jennifer D'Amato-Anderson, MS (Animal Nutrition)

Reference: Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition, First Ed. Edited by Andrea J. Fascetti and Sean J. Delaney.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Meet Buddy

We sat down for an interview with a member of SPVC staff, who's face most all of you have seen at some point or another.  His name is Buddy.  Here's some basic info about the furry orange felid.

Name: Buddy, Budward, Buddy-licious, Boday and a few other aliases

Age: Unknown

Favorite food: Friskies Party Mix or just about any cat treat unless it's a pill pocket with a pill hidden in it

Favorite past time: Tossing pens, pencils, medications, keys, and credit cards on the ground and making you pick them back up.

Arch Enemy: Anything that is or looks like a dog

Favorite color: Orange

Favorite person: Wanda (And me, though Wanda would disagree)

Best trick: Standing up to get a treat

Employment position: Master of the Universe, Ruler of the World

Weaknesses: Kittens, lots of kittens

Least favorite things: Getting monthly flea prevention, getting vaccines, dogs, and weekends

Hope you enjoyed getting to know our most valuable staff member.  Please feel free to stop by and visit with him anytime!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kennel Cough?

Hello again!  Hope everyone has been enjoying this lovely weather we've been having lately.  On this post I wanted to talk a little about what most know as "kennel cough".  First off, kennel cough goes by several different names.  The most commonly used terms to describe "kennel cough" in the veterinary practice are canine infectious tracheobronchitis or canine respiratory disease complex.  The important thing to know about this complex disease is that it is most often caused by more than one organism.

Here is a list of organisms that can cause "kennel cough"
-Bordetella bronchiseptica (bacterial)
-Mycoplasma spp. (bacterial)
-Staphylococcus zooepidemicus (bacterial)
-Parainfluenza (viral)
-Canine distemper virus
-Canine respiratory coronavirus
-Canine adenovirus
-Canine herpes virus

(see citation below)

As you can see there are MANY organisms that can cause "kennel cough".  I often get the question as to why I diagnose some dogs with kennel cough, who have also had their "kennel cough" vaccine.  The "kennel cough" vaccine should more appropriately be called the "Bordetella" vaccine, which as you know is a common cause of kennel cough.  In addition, if your dog is vaccinated with his or her annual vaccine (DA2PP+CV) then they are also protected against 4 other causes (distemper, parainfluenza, coronavirus and adenovirus).  I should note that this still does not mean your dog can't get kennel cough.  Depending on your pets natural immunity, protection may only be partial.  Meaning they may get kennel cough but the severity won't be as bad as it would be without the vaccine.

Unfortunately, full protection cannot be achieved with any vaccine because there are so many issues to take into account with this disease complex.  So we all try our best to do what we can to prevent an infection from happening.  Boarding facilities, grooming salons, pet stores, dog parks are all risk factors.  This shouldn't prevent you from allowing your dog to visit these places, afterall that's no fun for them!  This is why it is so important to vaccinate your pet to reduce that risk.  

If your dog does end up getting canine respiratory disease complex treatment is approached in several different ways.  Sometimes if the infection is minor the disease can be self-limiting.  In other words, the dog will get better on its own.  This is more often seen in those dogs that have been previously vaccinated.  Many veterinarians approach treatment differently.  Some may prescribe antibiotics if they feel a bacterial component is more likely involved or cough suppressants if they feel this will make the dog more comfortable.  Sometimes radiographs are taken to see the extent of the disease but this all depends on severity.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.  Enjoy the sun out there with your furry friends.

Reference :

Monday, April 27, 2015

New in-house lab equipment!!!

We just finished setting up our new in-house lab equipment!  This enables us to offer hematology (red blood cell and white blood cell counts), blood chemistry (kidney, liver, electrolytes) and thyroid hormone testing.  We are all extremely excited for this because blood work can now be done faster and at a more affordable price.  Let us know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dog what exactly are they for?

Hello again!  It's been a little bit since our last post.  Spring is in full effect and we have been staying quite busy.  I thought I'd talk about our "core" vaccinations we do for our canine friends each year.  I often get the question "What's this vaccination for?" which is definitely a valid question.  Sometimes we may just spout out a bunch of acronyms without explaining what we're talking about and I apologize for that.  So here it is!

Each year your beloved canine pet should come into see us for a physical examination and core vaccinations.  The physical examination is done annually in order for us to get an idea of overall health of your pet each year.  In addition, it is required by Oregon law for us to do an exam before any medication or vaccination is prescribed.  The core vaccines we recommend are DA2PP+CV and Leptospirosis.  Rabies is also included but this was discussed last month (still if you have any questions about that one, don't hesitate to call).

DA2PP+CV stands for Distemper, Adenovirus-2, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Coronavirus.  This is what is considered a combination vaccination and includes protection against 6 pathogens.  It is given subcutaneously and done once a year in adults.  In puppies we usually do a series of 3.  Now I'll break down what each one is.

Distemper:  This is a viral disease that usually affects dogs from 3-6 months of age, though it may occur in a dog of any age.  A key point is that it can be carried by wild animals such as foxes, raccoon and coyotes.  The disease is most of the time spread by air (ie. an infected animal coughs or sneezes on another animal, object, floor etc) although it can be spread other ways.  An infected animal will usually be "infectious" after the 7th day of exposure and can shed the virus up to 90 days.  Clinical signs vary from gastrointestinal signs (diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy) to disorders with the central nervous system (ie. brain-->tremors, seizures).  It can also cause problems with the animal's eyes and skin (classically hard stiff paw pads).  The virus is deadly so prevention is the best.

Adenovirus-2:  Although it seems like one virus, Adenovirus-2 actually protects against Adenovirus-1 as well.  Adenovirus 1 is involved in causing hepatitis (liver disease) in dogs and Adenovirus 2 is often a culprit in the complex disease known as "kennel cough".  Adenovirus can be spread in urine, feces and saliva.  It can also be carried by wildlife like foxes, wolves, coyotes.  Clinical signs usually start as inappetance, fever, excessive thirst and corneal opacities (spots on the eyes).  This is another deadly virus.

Parainfluenza:  Different from influenza (the flu), this is a respiratory virus also sometimes involved in the complex known as "kennel cough".  The virus can be shed via aerosolized droplets from infected dogs for up to 2 weeks after infection.  Most infections occur in areas where many dogs are confined in close quarters (ie. Kennel facilities, doggie day care).

Parvovirus:  A lot of people know parvovirus as a nasty puppyhood disease.  Parvovirus is a virus that infects the intestinal crypts of the intestines.  It causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract leading to profuse bloody diarrhea, inappetance, fever and vomiting.  If the animal is not given treatment it can often result in sepsis (infection of the blood) and eventual death.  The virus is incredibly hardy and can last in the environment (ie. sand, grass) for more than 7 months!  This is why we are so adamant on making sure your puppy is fully vaccinated before any trips to the dog park, beach, etc.

Coronavirus:  Coronavirus is similar to parvovirus in that it infects the gastrointestinal tract and is transmitted via the fecal-oral route.  It can cause diarrhea (sometimes bloody), inappetance, vomiting and fever.  Usually not as severe as parvovirus, but can often accompany parvovirus and turn out to be very serious.  Infected animals can shed the virus 6-9 days.

So those are the important points of one of the vaccinations we do each year for your pup.  We now also recommend Leptospirosis.  Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can cause liver and kidney failure after infection.  It is carried by wildlife (rodents, deer, opossums, raccoon) and shed via urine usually into ponds, streams or puddles of water.  I would say a majority of our dogs LOVE drinking dirty, stinky water while on hikes or walks, which is why we recommend this vaccine to all our canine patients.  In the past, the Leptospirosis vaccine was associated with allergic reactions in some dogs.  The vaccine we use now has been improved and the rate of allergic reaction due to the vaccine has gone down quite a bit.  When it does happen is generally not a big concern.  Most of the time a little diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is all that is needed to relieve the reaction.

To sum it up, we vaccinate against the most serious diseases that can potentially infect our dogs.  These diseases can all be deadly, which is why it's so important to stay up to date on prevention measures.  In general, like any medication side effects are possible but rare.  If you have any questions please feel free to write or call.  Thanks for reading!
-Dr. C


Monday, March 16, 2015

Reading a Pet Food Label

Reading a Pet Food Label

Required Information:
*Several rules concerning the percent of ingredient present exist and these determine how the product name can be stated.    For example, each of these statements has a different meaning and is subject to a different naming rule: "Chicken Dog Food," "Chicken Recipe Dog Food," "Dog Food with Chicken," and "Chicken Flavor Dog Food."   In the label above for Chicken & Rice Formula the 25% rule applies.  At least 25% of the food must be made up of the indicated ingredients (chicken, rice) with the ingredient listed first (chicken) having the greatest amount among the ingredients in the product name listed with a descriptor such as “dinner,” “formula,” “entrĂ©e”, or “recipe” (Fascetti, AJ and Delaney, SJ 2012).

**The minimum percent of crude protein and crude fat, and the maximum percent of crude fiber and moisture are always required in the guaranteed analysis.  Depending on manufacturer label claims other nutrients may be listed.  It is important to note that the guaranteed analysis is generally listed on an as fed basis; however, to make adequate comparisons to other pet foods you must convert to a dry matter basis (see sample calculations below).

***The ingredients must be listed by weight on an as formulated basis.  The ingredients must be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), approved food additives, or sanctioned animal feed ingredients such as those as defined by AAFCO.

Terms related to pet food to know and understand:

As-Fed (AF) – refers to how food is generally fed to an animal (it includes moisture). 
Dry Matter (DM) – refers to the part of the food left after water removed.
% Dry matter = 100% - % Water

Use these formulas to convert from a dry matter percent to an as fed percent and from an as fed percent to dry matter percent:
% nutrient (dry) = % nutrient (as fed)/% dry matter x 100
% nutrient (as fed) = % nutrient (dry) x (% dry matter)/100

For example from the label above there is a minimum of 28% crude protein (CP) and I want to know the % CP in dry matter.
First I need to figure out the %DM of the food:
%DM = 100% - % Water (listed as moisture on guaranteed analysis)
%DM = 100% - 12% water
%DM = 88%
Then I can calculate %CP on a dry matter basis.
% nutrient (as fed) = % nutrient (dry) x (% dry matter/100)
28% CP = ____% CP x (88%/100)
28% CP = ____%CP x 0.88
%CP on a dry matter basis = 32%

Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) – establish current guidelines for pet food labeling including nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods.  These guidelines are generally adopted by state legislatures as law (Fascetti, AJ and Delaney, SJ 2012).

State Feed Control Official – regulates pet food to ensure laws and established rules are complied with so that unadulterated and correctly labeled products are sold (

Meat – muscle tissue from slaughtered mammals but may include overlying fat, skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels.  It may include the heart muscle, diaphragm, tongue, and the esophagus.  It does not include bone.  The manufacturer may identify species, but if “meat” is used without identifying species it must be from cattle, pigs, sheep, or goats.  If it comes from any other mammal, the species must be identified.  Also, if the muscle is from non-mammalian species, such as poultry or fish, it cannot be declared as "meat” (

Meat by-productsthe non-rendered, clean parts, other than muscle tissue, derived from slaughtered mammals.  It may include lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially de-fatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents.  It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hoofs.  Unless the by-products are derived from cattle, pigs, sheep or goats, the species must be identified (

Poultry – the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts and/or whole carcasses of poultry.  It does not include feathers, heads, feet and entrails.  If bone has been removed it may be listed as “deboned” (

Poultry by-products – must consist of non-rendered clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, and internal organs, free from fecal content and foreign matter (

Rendering – process where the materials are subject to heat and pressure (cooking), destroying disease-causing bacteria and removing most of the water and fat and leaving primarily protein and minerals.   In the case of “meal” the products are ground to form uniform sized particles (

Meat meal – rendered product from mammalian tissues.  It does not include blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach, and rumen contents.  This ingredient may be from mammals other than cattle, pigs, sheep or goats without further description. However, a manufacturer may identify species if appropriate (

Meat and bone meal – rendered product from mammalian tissues, including bone.  It does not include blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach, and rumen contents (

Animal by-product meal – rendered product from mammalian tissues.  It does not include hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents.  This ingredient is not intended to be used to label a mixture of animal tissue products.  It may consist of whole carcasses, but often includes by-products in excess of what would normally be found in "meat meal" and "meat and bone meal" (

Poultry by-product meal – the ground, rendered clean parts of the carcasses of poultry such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines.  It does not include feathers.  It is similar to "poultry by-products," but most of the water and fat has been removed to make a concentrated protein/mineral ingredient (

Poultry meal – dry rendered product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts and/or whole carcasses of poultry.  It does not include feathers, heads, feet, and entrails.  It is similar to "poultry," but most of the water and fat has been removed to make a concentrated protein/mineral ingredient (

-Jennifer D'Amato-Anderson, MS (Animal Nutrition)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tea Tree Oil?

Some clients have been asking about applying tea tree oil to wounds and abrasions of their pets.  In humans, it's used as a holistic form of treating certain bacterial or fungal skin infections, acne, etc.  I would advise clients against using tea tree oil on their pets.  The ASPCA Poison Control center published a 10 year retrospective study on the toxicity reported by tea tree oil on cats and dogs (Khan, McLean et al. 2014).  There were 443 cases in total of dogs and cats that required veterinary attention.  Clinical signs of adverse reactions were reported to be salivation, depression, muscle tremors, and even coma.  If you'd like to read more please visit this website

There are many natural and homeopathic remedies out there, many of which have not had safety and/or efficacy studies done for veterinary use.  If you're thinking about using anything not labeled for an animal, please contact us and ask us if it'd be OK for use.
-Dr. C

Friday, February 20, 2015


I wanted to just put a little blurb out about the importance of vaccinating your pet with the rabies vaccine.  While I could have an entire conversation with you discussing my theory of rabies causing a "Zombie Apocalypse", I won't today, because there are much more important things to talk about.  It's something we do every year and most of the time don't think too much about the disease because we don't "see" it often.  That being said, rabies does exist here in Oregon.  In fact, just in Marion county last year, 2 bats tested positive for the virus.  This may not seem like much, but when you think about the population of bats in the area, that number is much higher.  Not to mention other possible reservoirs such as foxes, feral cats/dogs, who could potentially pass on the virus to any other mammal.

So, two big questions.  Should I vaccinate my dog for rabies?  Short answer yes, it's state law that all dogs are vaccinated for rabies.  Some counties, such as Multnomah, require cats to be vaccinated as well.  Second question, should I vaccinate my cat for rabies?  Yes.  We are recommending cats be vaccinated because they often go outside and hunt animals who can carry rabies like bats.  The key here is not only to protect our pets, but also protect all humans.

Here's a scenario that explains why vaccination is so important.  You have a indoor/outdoor cat who comes into contact with a child playing outside.  The child is bitten.  Regardless if you know your cat doesn't have rabies, animal control personnel, human health care teams and law enforcement personnel will "assume" rabies is a possibility.  Health care professionals will likely treat the child for rabies exposure (this part is at discretion of the physician) because there is no way to know an animal has rabies unless it is euthanized and its brain is submitted for rabies testing.  That's the key here, depending on where you live, if your dog or cat has no record of a rabies vaccination, it may be mandated by law that the pet is euthanized in order to test for rabies.  In some areas, authorities may decide to instead quarantine the animal for a period of time for observation (at cost to the owner).  If your pet is vaccinated this changes everything.  In those cases, you will likely just have to quarantine your pet at home.  As you can see, one vaccine a year can potentially save a life, money and the spread of a deadly virus.

I should add, when you get a new puppy or kitten their first rabies vaccine will be good for one year.  As long as you come in to get the rabies vaccine the following year, it will be good for 3 years.  The same goes for adult dogs and cats who have an unknown rabies vaccine status.

And of course, if you have any questions you can comment below or give us a call.  We'd be happy to chat! 503-588-1151

-Dr. C

Friday, January 30, 2015

February News!

Hello there!  This blog is a new addition to our website so it's still in the testing phase.  Our idea is to come up with a centralized location to disseminate news for the clinic, veterinary/animal education, and much more.  Ideally, we'll have a monthly news letter on the page so bookmark us now!  The cool thing about this is after each blog post there is a comment section.  If you have questions or comments about each blog post, please feel free to add them.  Keep in mind, it may take one of us a little time to reply due to events going on at the clinic, but we'll try our best to respond as soon as possible.  Of course, if you have any veterinary medical questions specific to your pet please give us a call at 503-588-1151.

This month's topic will be regarding fleas.  Fleas are the most common ectoparasite in our furry friends and something that we battle here in Oregon year round.  It seems that due to our relatively mild winter in the Willamette Valley, fleas have been especially active.  They're eager to jump onto your animals outside to hitch a ride into a warm home.  The outdoor environment (grass, bushes, etc) is the most likely place of initial flea transmission to dogs and cats.  Wild animals like raccoon, possums, feral cats/dogs are outdoor reservoirs.  Think of the outdoors as one big carpeted room, sometimes teeming with flea eggs, larvae and adult fleas.  Bottom line is, if your dog, cat or YOU go outside, he or she needs flea prevention (not you the human, just the pets).  Yes, fleas can hop on your clothing, get a free ticket to your home and wait for that opportune moment to start an infestation.  Never fear!  We can help prevent this!  Treat your pets with an approved flea preventive once a month.

To give you a better understanding of fleas it helps to learn their life cycle in your home.  A flea starts out as an egg (Which came first? Who knows!) on your carpet, in 2-3 days hatches into a larva.  The larva 5-10 days later turns into a pupa.  Then depending on weather, climate and the environment will emerge as an adult flea anywhere from 5 days to 6 months!  Here's the key though, fleas NEED a blood meal in order to reproduce and make new baby fleas.  So if they don't have a means to get a blood meal (ie. flea prevention treated pet) they can't reproduce and will die.  Sad day for fleas, good day for our pets and us.  For the visual learner here's a short Youtube video on the life cycle produced by Bayer Animal Health Bayer Flea Life Cycle Video

People get very frustrated when they are diligent about treating their pets for fleas, yet they still see fleas on their pet or in the environment.  This is very understandable, I too get frustrated when this happens to my own animals.  Sometimes it may seem the flea preventive is just not working, rarely this is the case unless the improper dosage was used or it was not properly applied/administered.  The way flea preventive works is usually due to a compound that hyper-excites the flea's nervous system eventually killing them.   Unfortunately this doesn't happen instantly, so if the flea burden in your home or surrounding environment is high, you may still have fleas jumping on your animal but later dying and falling off.  Animals with flea bite hypersensitivity are especially affected because it doesn't take many bites to set the inflammatory cascade causing the itching, redness, and sometimes diffuse skin infections.  Clearing of areas with high infestation as you can imagine can take months!  This is why it is crucial that flea preventive is applied as directed every single month whether or not you "see" fleas.  Just stopping for one month can re-start the entire life cycle and allow the environment to become re-infested.

To sum things up, we recommend flea prevention every month here in the Willamette Valley.  We have several different formulations of flea prevention at the clinic (collars, oral, topical) so feel free to call or stop by if you have any questions!  Thanks and stay tuned every month!
-Dr. Carnett

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