…skilled service…compassionate care

Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) In the News Again

We reported previously on Cyanobacteria dangers to pets but, because it was again in the news after a puppy died from retrieving a ball from a lake with blue-green algae, and because this bacterium is so deadly and so harmful, it is important to remind you of its poisonous and deadly effects.

The Pet Poison Helpline, https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com, states that the Cyanobacteria are found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and brackish water ecosystems. They can produce toxins that affect people, livestock, and pets that swim in or drink water from these water sources. These algal blooms may be near the shore and appear as blue-green mats floating on the surface and are most prevalent during periods of hot weather in mid to late summer months. Just to make things more difficult, not all blue-green algae blooms produce toxins, and without testing, it can’t be determined if the toxins are present. Regardless, the best course of action is to assume there is a problem and do not allow your pet access to these waters if you see algae.

If your pet is exposed to these blooms, immediately wash the pet thoroughly with fresh water and do not permit your pet to lick its coat or drink the water. Exposure may cause liver damage or failure with signs of vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the stool, weakness, pale gums, jaundice, seizures, disorientation, coma, and shock. If you suspect that your pet has been affected, immediate, aggressive veterinary care is imperative to treat these issues.

Coccidioidomycosis! aka Valley Fever

This is a very devastating fungal infection found in the hot, dry desert areas of the Southwest including California. While it is not often found here, it can be picked up by people and dogs traveling through those areas. This fungus lives in the soil and its spores are aerosolized when disturbed soil with spores is inhaled in the lungs. Lung disease develops and spreads throughout the body and may also affect every system in the body, mostly lungs and bones. The most common symptoms are: lack of appetite, weight loss, fever, malaise, limping which may shift from leg to leg.

What is important is that you pay attention to your pet, and if you notice these symptoms and know you have traveled through these areas, please let us know immediately so tests can be made.

For more detailed information, the “Whole Dog Journal” has a detailed article about this difficult to identify and treat infection. For more information, click here.

Kodi’s Kolumn! by Kodiak (Kodi) Bibb – Head K-9 in charge! (That’s me on the right!)

Prong Type Training Collars

Some of my fellow k-9 friends asked me to enlighten you about the use of prong type training collars. For full disclosure, I wear one myself because in my youth, I did drag my mom on the ground trying to say hi to some other dogs and she was not happy with me. Of course, my mom is a professional and knows when and how to use one of these collars.

If you don’t know, they are collars made with interlocking links and each link has two prongs on the end that pinch the dog’s neck when the collar is tightened. These can be very helpful but, if not sized or used properly, can be harmful and damage the skin of the dog. When put on the dog and used properly, they are intended to give the dog a slight pinch as a corrective measure and put no pressure on the dog’s neck. They are designed to be used for a quick correction and released with no constant pressure. Importantly, they shouldn’t be on the dog’s neck all the time.

I heard complaints recently that some prongs became lodged in the dog’s skin. Yipes! This makes me howl; that hurts. It is so important to work with a competent professional trainer who understands the proper size, fit and use for these collars. They are not intended to be used as punishment. It is important to remember that the wrong prong gauge, worn incorrectly used on the wrong dog for the wrong reason may result in skin punctures, injuries, and can permanently damage your pet’s neck and throat. Then, it won’t meet your training needs. As always, if you have questions, please ask our staff – or ask me!

So you know, other helpful types of collars are the gentle leader or halti nose collars for those dogs who really pull.

October Is Adopt A Dog Month

If you are thinking of adding a new canine companion to your family, please consider adopting. There are thousands of great dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. My furry family and I are very lucky to have a wonderful home and I have two adopted siblings, Willow and Charlie who you probably have seen at the hospital, plus four adopted cats! I know that there are wonderful stories to be told and adventures to be had if you adopt your next new best friend. Tell them Kodi sent you!

My Vacation Is Over! – My Mom Is Home!

You might have noticed that my mom, Dr. Bibb, has been out of town and she didn’t take me! That’s ok because she and her mom vacationed on a lovely trip to Italy. I say, “good girl”! Of course, I missed her and it is nice to have her back. I can get back to sniffing out new stories for you and sleeping in my own bed!

National Fire Pup Day – October 1

I love to give a big bark and howl to recognize the wonderful canine firefighters that have been members of fire departments. Historically, Dalmatians were trained as carriage dogs, ran with the horses and kept the horses calm at fires. Now they serve as firehouse mascots and help educate the public about fire safety. Who wouldn’t pay attention to a great spotted dog teacher?

National Mole Day – October 23

Chemists, chemistry teachers, students, and dogs like me with great noses who can identify individual elements by their smell, celebrate October 23 as National Mole Day. The celebration takes place between 6:02 AM and 6:02 PM, making the date 6:02 10/23. This is derived from Avogadro’s number, which is approximately 6.02×10Λ23, defining the number of particles (atoms or molecules) in one mole of substance. Of course, all smart dogs know that a mole is a unit of measurement used in chemistry to express amounts of a chemical substance. Well, yes, a mole might also be a fuzzy little burrowing creature.

Halloween and Black Cats

I want you to have fun and safe Halloween activities and my furry friends want me to remind you that, as much as they may beg, please do not let them have human treats. It can result for bad things happening to them and perhaps an emergency trip to visit us here at El Gato. Also, if your friends are a bit shy, keep them separated from the activities so they aren’t spooked!

As for black cats, in the past, black cats were thought of as symbols of evil and associated with witches. Some people today will mis-treat them. I wish I could take a bite out of those people, but I’m not that kind of guy! While I have been known to chase the cats at my house, it is only when we are playing a game. Just ask them! Please keep them safely indoors.

Have a Spooktacular