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Tick check your dogs

This time of year we are all enjoying the best of Oregon. The outdoors! The clinic has seen 3 cases of tick infestation this week alone. Locations Red Sunset Park, Vella Vista Park, and Sandy between 5/10 and 5/13. Recent nice weather has lead to a large increase in tick cases in our area. Ticks are commonly found on our wooded trails, beaches, and places wild animals frequent. Squirrels and rabbits can bring them right to your front door.

As you and your dog (and cats) enjoy the outings please be prepared for tick control. There are 3  precautions:

Use appropriate tick kill products. For pets there are excellent oral flea/tick products such as Nexgard and Bravecto .  Nexgard is the ONLY product approved by the FDA to prevent Lyme disease infections by killing black-legged ticks. These are the ticks in Oregon. Topcial products include Revolution, Frontline and Advantix.

You can provide protection with the Lyme vaccination for you dog. It is a series of two and then once yearly. 

Lastly , check your dog when you are done hiking. Look around the ears, eyes , under the collar, in the “privates” and between the toes. Take a small toothed comb and do a thorough go-over.  Remember, bringing ticks back to your home will start a new seed site for ticks.

One of the local areas that has LOTS OF TICKS is Powell Butte. I love Powell Butte and it has been beautifully restored. However, this year there are many  of ticks. They come in cycles and it looks to be a bad year for ticks.


Rabies in Pets

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. In the United States, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. In the local metro area we have all of the above (foxes less common). If you see any of these animals during the day then you should be suspicious.  In my home we recently had 2 bats in our high vault living room. The cat was the one who observed them and he tried to jump up and catch one. Horrors! . After locking the cat and dog in a back bedroom we opened all the doors and waited for them to find an exit. They flew fast and right past our legs and heads. We were scared! This was at night and we were  uncertain how to get them to leave. 40 minutes later they were gone.  Several years back in  Damascus there was a case of cat Rabies acquired from a catching a bat during the day. Scary scenario.

Prevention is easy. Vaccinate you dog or cats. The vaccine is required by 6 months of age in Oregon. The first vaccine is good for 1 year, the next year when given it has a 3 year duration and repeated every 3 years afterwards. Other states have different protocols.

If your dog or cat bites and is not current with the vaccine the person who was bitten can rightfully have the pet reported, quarantined and possibly tested. Testing is done by euthanizing the biter and immediately sending the brain to the State Lab. That’s right- euthanize your pet!  Keep your pet current on the vaccine schedule. 

 In 2004, a 15-year-old girl became the first known unvaccinated rabies survivor . Currently worldwide the statistic is 29 people. Treatment in people is complicated. Once a rabies infection is established, there’s no effective treatment. Though a small number of people have survived rabies, the disease usually causes death. For that reason, if you think you’ve been exposed to rabies, you must get a series of shots to prevent the infection from taking hold.

If you see a bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes especially during the day-stay away and keep your pets away! Danger may be present. 

Safe Fruits for Pets

What People Foods are Safe for my dog and cat? Often you are told “don’t feed people food!” However, there are safe foods which have food value. So, what are these foods? These fruits have great food value:

  • Apples    Bananas
  • Blueberries  Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries  Cucumbers 
  • Mangos   Oranges
  • Peaches   Pears
  • Pineapple  Pumpkin
  • Raspberries  Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Your pet can be introduced to these at an early age to “widen” their palate. I have never owned a kitty that liked Cantaloupe but I have had many clients who said their pet loves it! These are all foods low in calories , contain additional fiber and have unique minerals. If you have a diabetic patients you need to be careful with the higher sugar fruits ( example apples, strawberries).

Fruits to avoid:

cherries are toxic to cats and dogs

 grapes and raisins can cause kidney damage.

Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruit as well as persimmons can cause an upset stomach.  Dr. Becky M

Next Post : safe vegetables


Is CBD oil right for your Pet?

CBD is a great addition to pet care. It may help with seizures,  anxiety, pain, inflammation, osteoarthritis, allergies and cancer.  The process is cannabinoids produce effects in the body by interacting with cannabinoid receptors. Many clients ask me  my opinion. I have seen some animals (dogs) respond and others not so much. There really are no know harmful side effects ( unless THC is product > 3%). The main issue is dosing.

The FDA has not approved the CBD products  for pets (dogs)because there is no predictable outcome. There is no dosing that promises the expected results. For this reason it is a difficult issue. 

There are many manufacturers and the  actual product doesn’t always match what is in the bottle. A certificate of analysis should always be on the packaging.  

If you plan to try the CBD oil on your pets be certain there is no xylitol (toxic) or THC ( read certificate of analysis  less < 3%). Give the same amount every time for a trial period of 7 days. Write down your observations ( how long did it take to be effective, how long did it last, what was the actual improvement?). Then increase gradually so you will know the correct dose for your pet. The CBD is nonintoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp. Your pet won’t get “high”.

My observations. When  a client says the gave their dog some CBD ahead of exam time for anxiety I can tell that approximately 50% of the pets did benefit.

Assessing CBD Products
  • Domestically grown
  • Organically grown, if that’s important to practitioners or clients
  • Recent certificate of analysis that shows percentages of THC, various CBD molecules, other cannabis molecules, results for pesticide and heavy metal testing, and so on
  • Easily accessible online or provided on request
  • Understandable labels, including strength and doses per bottle
  • Not in an alcohol base
  • Details on carrier oils
  • Details on other ingredients or possible allergens

Fat cat?

Obese Cats can have many health problems

"Fat cat" used to be a common saying for a person that was sitting well financially. If you have a fat cat you find the meaning to be quite different. An overweight cat can have numerous health problems.

Health problems may include Diabetes Mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, dermatitis and poor hygiene. Often obese cats won't use the litter box appropriately--leaving a mess outside the litter box.

Weight loss is a reachable goal with your kitty. Start with diet. There are 2 types of weight loss food-- high fiber with lower calories (Cat Food With Fiber: Why Is It Important? | Hill's Pet)  or "atkin's type (examples: prescription OM Overweight Management Cat Food | Pro Plan Vet Direct, also not prescription Fat Cats Low Calorie Dry Cat Food Formula | Natural Balance
Also the placement of food can be done in creative ways so that your kitty has to hunt or work for it. Place 3 or 4 small helpings of food in various locations of the house. If the kitty is hungry enough they have to get up and look for the food. After several days start changing the location of the food every day. If cats are healthy enough place the little portions in higher positions. Feed your kitty for the ideal weight-not the current weight. This satisfies their hunting instinct and gets them moving around.

Play time. Toys such as laser lights will work with some kitties. Consider tying a long string to your waist line as you walk through the house. This can attract even the lowest energy cats. Cat fishing poles are fun for you and your cat. Remember this will be a slow start .

Start today to help your fat cat reduce risk of health problems and satisfy kitty instincts. with simple steps at your fingertips.

Dr. Becky Marks

How to introduce a cat

How to introduce a cat
by Becky E. Marks, DVM

Cat introductions should be gradual 

The holidays are around the corner. Perhaps your youngster has been begging, Mom can I have a kitten for Christmas? You are wearing thin.You already have one cat. Is it that simple to add another kitten to your already hectic lives? Well yes and no. Often we get questions regarding how to handle the predicament of adding another feline (or canine) to the household. You must understand that the cat who currently reigns feels very threatened by newcomers. A cat who has her favorite chair, window ledge and scheduled pathway to roam about the house is not likely to welcome a frisky stranger.

Mistakes are easily made. What you should not do --Don"t immediately introduce these pets together by rubbing their noses together or closing them together in a room. By all means do not scold either pet for not meeting your expectations. This is a stressful event for them. What you should do . Create a safe place for the new cat or kitten.

A good option is a back bedroom. In this room, arrange all the comforts of home: food, water, litter pan and toys. For the first two weeks, play with your new kitten in this room only. In the meantime, the resident feline will know something is up. The smell of the new kitten will be on your clothes and sounds of the new kitten will be heard. The two felines can smell and investigate each other under the door without scratching or biting. In the next two weeks you may allow the new kitty out for short stretches of time. You have to monitor these time periods. It is easy to imagine how a cat fight could be dangerous and traumatic. This takes time, but keep in mind you are in control of the adjustment period. In the fourth week you may allow more extended periods of freedom for the new kitten, but keep monitoring. Try to show equal one on one time for each pet. It can be difficult to be impartial. If however, one pet is more upset than the other it is acceptable to show more affection.

Same feeding area Beginning week four you can start to feed both cats in the same feeding area. Feed the cats at regular times so that they have a good appetite and are more concerned about their food than the other cat. You are trying to create an association in each cats mind: Every time I see that other cat I get rewarded with food. Nothing bad happens! The food bowls should be as far apart as possible. Gradually move the bowls closer together over a period of several days. Now you are testing the waters. Go slowly. If any hissing or upset occurs you will have to retrace your steps and put the bowls further apart again.

Special toys Also, find some special toys that both cats like. They will have these toys only when they are together in the same room. A couple of strings are great. Drag a string for each cat so they are independently playing and again you are creating an association: Every time the other cat is playing I get my special toy and special attention!" Most cats will be over the hurdles in eight to 10 weeks. If they are not pals after three months, they never will be. It may be that your cats only tolerate each other, but you may have rushed the process. Try backing up a few steps and going slower this time.

Young kittens are usually easier to mix. Their adjustment period may only be a week. A dog entering into a cat household is somewhat similar. Dogs and pups tend to be rambunctious. Most resident cats will hide in the back room and the roles are reversed. This is OK.
A new kitten for the holidays is a wonderful treat. Make sure the guidelines are understood by the household before the pet arrives, and make the introduction a joy for all!

Another really important reason to use the initial 2 week separation is to prevent upper respiratory infections from being spread. Wahs your hands and change clothes if your new entry has any signs of infection before you return to contact with you older pets.

Becky E. Marks, DVM is a co-owner of Timberland Animal Clinic


holiday sorrows

Homemade ornaments are unique and easy to make

For many of us holidays with our pets a joyfilled. We may have a new addition to our family and have lavished them with gifts and stockings.  Many of us have our pets in our adjusted environment. Your pet knows the routine of the holiday–Christmas morning with happy people voices and papers all over the floor and children gleefully embracing their gifts. 

But for others Christmas may bring sadness. They are coming to terms with their pet’s illness. This may be Jasper’s last Christmas.  Or maybe Jasper is already deceased and the holidays resurface grief.  Those of us who are pet lovers understand the emotions of pet loss.  Not all  friends and family “get it”.

Some ways to celebrate your pet’s life during the holidays may include making a photo  ornament .  Set aside a special time to remember  your pets. Display some photos and have each family member speak a remembrance.  This is very helpful for children.  Keep the process simple.  And never force the experience on others who are not genuinely want to participate–that will ruin the experience for you. You could consider a facebook group /instagram for pets for  the holidays. Or just a gathering of like-minded friends. 

Study on Heartworm –the rise in Oregon

Did you know Heartworm disease is on the rise in the Northwest ?Portland is in the top 10 cities with the highest percentage increase in heartworm disease. If your dog gets heartworm disease, it can lead to heart failure, organ failure and eventually death. Heartworm disease is preventable. That is why our clinic is participating in a field study for preventative care.

We are seeking dogs for a Heartworm field study. Call us for details. 503.665.1194–sorry enrollment is closed for this study

What is Heartworm Disease?

“Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.

Dogs. The dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, heartworm prevention for dogs is by far the best option, and treatment—when needed—should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible“.

Cats can be heartworm infected. The condition is very rare and
and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage ..


Grain Free Diets and Heart Disease?

A new client walks in with their first dog. They have the food recommended by the pet store. “It’s grain-free” they smile with an expectant affirmative response. After all isn’t that the best diet for their dog (cat)? As veterinarians this is a very common dialogue.  Unfortunately, the response to the client is a letdown. Grain-free diets are: extrapolated from the human side of nutrition, they do not meet all of your pet’s nutritional needs and new research shows these diets maybe harmful to your pet. The lack of grains requires replacement ingredients such as potatoes, legumes, peas and lentils. These ingredients lead to low levels of Taurine an essential amino acid.

  A recent UCDavis study (7/2018) discovered the dogs seemed to have a higher correlation of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) when on grain free diets due to the replacement ingredients.  Taurine deficiency is well-documented as potentially leading to DCM. DCM is a disease of the heart muscle that results in weakened contractions and poor pumping ability. As the disease progresses the heart chambers become enlarged, one or more valves may leak, and signs of congestive heart failure develop. This disease is serious and in some cases sudden death.

Breeds that are typically more frequently affected by DCM include large and giant breed dogs, such as Great Danes, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers. It is less common in small and medium breed dogs, except American and English Cocker Spaniels. However, the cases that have been reported to the FDA have included Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog and Miniature Schnauzers, as well as mixed breeds. see source FDA…

If the problem is identified early and if the patient has been on a grain-free diet the patient can be treated. However, early detection is not usually the case. Prevention is through dietary awareness. Ask your veterinarian for nutritional advice.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy can cause sudden death