Steps to A Healthy Outdoor Cat

Today we will be talking about Steps to a Healthy Outdoor Cat.

Whether you’ve just adopted a grand old cat or a feisty kitten, you’ve got to decide if you want to keep your feline indoors or let them roam outdoors. Learning what it takes to keep your cat healthy and happy outside can help you choose.

Hidden Dangers

It’s easy to imagine kitty lounging at your feet, soaking up the sun, or relaxing in your yard. Anticipating the dangers outdoor cats face may not be so easy:

  • Fights with other animals. You may not realize your kitty has wounds until they’re infected or need surgery. Fights often require a trip to the vet for bite wounds, which can turn into abscesses. Also, cat bite wounds are one of the primary routes of exposure for infectious diseases.

  • Outdoor cats are more susceptible to herpes, rabies, and heartworms. They’re also at risk for fatal infections like feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. We will discuss more about these later.

What heartworms look like inside the heart

  • Cars and other vehicles.Some studies estimate that cars strike as many as 5.4 million cats a year. This would make it the first or second most common cause of death among outdoor cats, depending on age group.

  • These include fleas, ticks, and worms. These can be tricky pests to get rid of as well as an extreme annoyance for you and your cat. Cats who hunt birds and mice are very susceptible to tapeworms, which can also infect humans.

  • These include antifreeze, bleach, fertilizers, herbicides, as well as insect and rodent bait. Also, there is a chance your pet could be poisoned by secondary exposure, like eating infected prey (i.e. a mouse that has ingested rodent bait).

Prevent Hazards

Before you and your feline friend head outside, plan for your cat’s safety.

  • Make an outdoor enclosure.These keep your cat safe and provide plenty of enjoyment. An enclosure can be small or large, and you can set it up to stand alone or attach to a house, balcony, or deck. The best enclosure for your cat depends on where you live, how much room you have, and how much you want to spend.

  • Collar your cat. Always put a collar on your cat and attach ID tags. This helps others know your pet has a home and makes it easy for them to contact you. Be sure kitty’s collar has a “break away” feature. If your cat gets caught on a fence or branch, this type of collar snaps open.

  • Microchip your pet.This permanent form of identification ensures that someone who finds your kitty can quickly return them. A vet checks for the ID embedded in your cat’s neck which contains a number that they can put it in a database to find your contact information.

  • Keep vaccinations up-to-date.Discuss with Dr. Doub which vaccines are most helpful for your outdoor cat’s health and how often he needs them. Follow through to protect your cat from diseases and infections.

Outdoor Fun for Indoor Cats

Your indoor cat can enjoy a bit of the outdoors and stay safe with these feline-friendly ideas:

  • Harness and leash training. With a little time and patience, leash training is another way to let your kitty get outside. Use a harness when leash training since cats can escape from simple collars when they’re spooked.

  • Indoor window boxes and window perches. In several rooms of your house, set up window boxes and perches to give kitty some sunshine and fresh air.

  • Opening windows and doors with screens. Another good way to make sure your cat enjoys the healthy benefits of the outdoors. Make sure the air inside your house doesn’t get stagnant, which you both can benefit from.

  • Setting up a bird feeder outside of the windows. This can help your pet stay stimulated and enriched when exposed visually and audibly to the outside world.

Why does my cat need vaccinations?

One of the best things you can do to give your cat a long and healthy life, indoors or out, is to ensure that they are vaccinated against common feline diseases. Vaccines help to protect against specific infectious diseases caused by some viruses and bacteria. They stimulate the body’s immune system to destroy the organism and “remember” it so that it can fight against infection again if necessary in the future. Without vaccination, many cats become seriously ill or may even die from diseases that their immune system is unable to fight effectively on its own. The use of vaccines has prevented death and disease in millions of cats. In addition, vaccines protect people from disease, such as rabies, that could be transmitted from cats. With the help and advice of Dr. Doub, you can choose which vaccinations to receive depending on the environment, heredity risks, and lifestyle of your pet.

  • Rabies – This incurable viral disease affects the central nervous system of almost all mammals, including humans. It is spread through contact with the saliva of infected animals (including skunks, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and bats) through bites or any break in the skin. Vaccination will provide cats with a much greater resistance to rabies if they are exposed to the disease. You must be aware that there is no cure once it occurs. For this reason, it is required by law to have your pet current on all rabies vaccinations.

  • FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia)
    • Rhinotracheitis – Just like the human common cold, the virus that causes this upper respiratory tract infection is easily transmitted from one cat to another, so vaccination is imperative if your pet will come in contact with other cats. Its symptoms may take the form of moderate fever, loss of appetite, eye and nasal discharges, and sneezing. Kittens are particularly affected but this disease can be dangerous in any unprotected cat, as effective treatment is limited. Even If a cat recovers, it can remain a carrier for life.
    • Calicivirus – This virus is another major cause of upper respiratory tract infection in cats. Widespread and highly contagious, its symptoms of fever, ulcers, and blisters on the tongue and pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) can range from mild to severe, depending on the strain of virus present. Treatment of this disease can be difficult. Even if recovery does take place, a recovered cat can continue to infect other animals as well as experience chronic sneezing, runny eyes, and severe gum disease. Vaccination is therefore tremendously important.
    • Panleukopenia – Sometimes known as feline distemper, this disease is caused by a virus so resistant, it can survive up to one year outside a cat’s body! Therefore, as most cats will be exposed to it during their lifetimes and infection rates in unprotected cats can run as high as 90-100%, vaccination against this potentially fatal disease is absolutely essential. Symptoms can include listlessness, diarrhea, vomiting, severe dehydration, fever, and death. Happily, the vaccine itself is very effective in preventing the disease, as treatment is very difficult.

  • Feline Leukemia (FeLV) – Infection with the Feline Leukemia Virus can result in a multitude of serious health problems for your cat – everything from cancerous conditions such as leukemia to a wide range of secondary infections caused by the destruction of the immune system. In fact, it is a leading cause of death in North American cats. After initial exposure to the virus, a cat may show no symptoms for months, if not years. Testing is available to determine the FeLV status of your cat. If they have not yet been infected, but are likely to come in contact with cats that are, vaccinations against this potentially fatal disease is highly recommended.

Now that you have learned about what it takes to keep an outdoor cat healthy, you can decide if you want your feline friend to be indoors or outdoors. I love my cat siblings!

Straight From the Dog’s Mouth,

Love, Sequoia


Me visiting my sister in catopia!

Foxtails! Watch Out! They can KILL!

Today we will be talking about Foxtails, and how dangerous they are to your dogs! Don’t let them get you down, just be sure to take the proper steps to avoid them!


Me being down about foxtails

So what exactly is a foxtail? A foxtail is a type of grass like weed that can either be called “foxtail” or “spear grass”, that disperses its seeds as a unit. Foxtail seeds are barbed, razor-sharp needles, designed to burrow into the ground with the seed.



Foxtails can work their way into any part of your dog (or cat), including the most popular areas, between the toes, inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. They can even dig themselves directly into the skin. Because the seeds don’t break down in the body, and only move forward because of the shape of the seed, they can cause horrible damage. If your pet is showing any of these symptoms call your vet TODAY! Symptoms may include discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, and death.


Foxtail head

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, check them!!

  • Paws. Foxtails most commonly are in the feet and can easily become lodged between toes. Check for foxtails if you notice swelling or limping or if your dog is constantly licking the area.
  • Ears. If your pup is shaking his head, tilting it to the side, or scratching incessantly at an ear, this could be the sign of a foxtail — one that may be so deep inside the ear canal you can’t see it. Your veterinarian needs to take a look using a special scope.
  • Eyes. Redness, discharge, swelling, squinting, and pawing all may be signs your dog has a foxtail lodged in its eye. If you think this may be the case, seek veterinary care immediately!!
  • Nose. If you see discharge from the nose, or if your dog is sneezing frequently and intensely, there may be a foxtail lodged in a nasal passage.
  • Genitals. Foxtails can find their way into these areas, too. So if you notice your dog persistently licking at its genitals, foxtails could be the cause.


Dogs with long hair or curly hair typically are more at risk for Foxtails. Below are some tips to help prevent Foxtails from becoming a problem for your dog!

  • During Foxtail season (May through December) make sure you examine your pet’s coat after being outside, going on walks, and especially after wondering through open fields. Proper grooming like brushing your dog daily is a good way to search for the foxtails, look for the pointy end of it sticking out in the fur.
  • Examine your dog’s ears, paw pads (especially between the toes!) and mouth as well, as these are sites we overlook.
  • If you find a foxtail in your dogs fur you can easily get to, use tweezers to remove them. If the foxtail is buried deep in the skin, or if the area around the foxtail is red or swollen, call you vet right away!!
  • If you have foxtails in your yard, pull the weed out from the root. If your on walks and run into some, don’t let your dog walk in them!


Remember foxtails WILL NOT come out on their own, and will just continue to burrow into the skin!! The best way to keep your pet Foxtail free is to keep them out of the foxtail brush and to pull any that grows in your yard, and if you do find one embedded in your furry friend, call your vet immediately!!


So there you have it! Foxtail info to help prevent your pup from getting them!

Straight from The Dog’s Mouth,

Love, Sequoia

What Makes UPVH so Different??

There are a lot of Veterinary Hospitals out there, how do you know how to pick the right one for your pet? What sets them apart?
In this blog we will talk about what makes us so different from all the other Veterinary Hospitals out there!
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The UPVH team with Sequoia, Timber and Rochelle

We CARE and we are a FAMILY!
Union Park Veterinary Hospital is a progressive veterinary hospital where we offer the gold standard of care with a small town feel.
We are Cottonwood Heights owned and run and we love this community!
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Here are some of the things that we can offer you, as part of our family!
1) Individualized patient care and treatment protocols that meet your pet’s lifestyles and budget.
We care about who YOU are and what your goals are for your furry family member.  We work with YOU to come up with the best plan for your pet.
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Dr. Doub doing an exam and coming up with a treatment plan for Koda’s active life!

2) Email and text access.
Everyone is so busy these days and we understand that 100%. We don’t want YOU to have to wait for lab results or to hear back from Dr. Doub with answers to your questions. That is why our communication is primarily written and from the Dr. herself.
That way, you can access this information WHEN YOU ARE READY.  Appts can be made by texting or emailing and rx refills processed by texting and emailing 24 hours a day.
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Misha texting a client back to set up an appointment!

3) Up to date care!
Dr. Doub and her team are constantly doing continuing education. They, as a team, attend seminars, lunch time talks and read and discuss journals to stay up to date on all issues affecting companion animal care.
We like to think outside the box and LOVE second opinion cases…..all veterinary care is NOT created equal.  We really do strive to be the BEST primary care veterinarian in the Salt Lake Valley…..

Dr. Doub talking to her staff about the new things she learned at her CE over the weekend!

4) Referrals and low costs.
Word of mouth is our primary form of marketing. This is how we keep our costs low and make this more of a family atmosphere.
We want YOU and YOUR pet to love us….and if you tell all your friends about us, we will reward YOU and your friends for giving us a try! Ask us for referral cards at your next appointment!
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Heather handing out referral cards to clients!

5) Vacations and kenneling can be stressful for pets.
Dr. Doub doesn’t kennel her pets and her team fully believes that pets should be well taken care of while owners are getting much needed R and R.
As a result, her team offers individualized and personally contracted in home pet sitting for established members of the UPVH family. Need a petsitter?  Just ask a member of the team if they can help!
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Bridget watches Rochelle on the weekends when Dr D. is out of town!

You can see our family is a lot different than many Veterinary Hospitals out there! We love our furry clients like our own family! Come see the difference here at UPVH!

Winter Prep and Holiday Hazards for your Pets!

Today we will be talking about preparing for winter and holiday hazards for your pets! Its a great read, because it’s written by me, Sequoia!

Winter Prep Tips

If your fur baby spends most of their day outside while you are at work, make sure they are comfortable and safe while you’re away and the winter winds are blowing!

Even though our pets have fur, that doesn’t mean its a perfect insulator, especially in very cold weather. They need shelter, food, water, and a blanket! To name a few!

For Cats: Make sure that they have a warm dry shelter, fresh water, and food. If it is going to freeze overnight you should put a bird bath water heater in the water dish so it doesn’t freeze. Make sure the shelter is insulated and stays dry. You can use a shelter from the pet store, or make one from materials at home. Try to keep the shelter under a covering, like a garage, carport, or porch. And make sure the shelter is off the ground so it stays warmer as well.

For Dogs: Make sure they also have a warm dry shelter, fresh water, and food. You can put a water heater in the dogs bowl as well to help keep it from freezing. And you can use the same type of sheltering as you would for a cat.

To help encourage them to go potty during these cold times outside when its time to go, you can shovel a small patch in the grass so they can go in the grass and not snow. You can also try getting booties for your dog to help with the cold. You can put coats on your dogs, just make sure that they are dry and if they do get wet, you have something dry to change them into to avoid frostbite, and make sure the booties don’t fit so tight they cut your dogs circulation off.

Make sure you follow these steps to keeping your pet safe and dry and out of the blustery winds! And when you are home, snuggle up with your fur baby by the fire and keep them inside!

Holiday Hazards

Holidays are full of parties, gatherings, and holly jolly people. But it can be an especially dangerous time for your pets to ingest some delicious figgy pudding or other holiday items!

Make sure to watch out for these hazard items and a few extra winter tips!

1: Holiday Tinsel and Ornaments

Tinsel isn’t toxic, but its shiny reflection is very attractive to pets, particularly to cats. Once it is consumed it can cause serious injury to your pet like getting lodged in its throat, and blocking an intestine. Ornaments are bright and colorful and make pets curious to play with them. Place glass ornaments higher up on the tree, and remember to not leave your pet unsupervised with these ornaments as they can break injuring your pet, or they may swallow the pieces and lacerate the throat and mouth.

2: Holiday Lighting and Candles

Does your pet like to chew? Make sure you check your holiday lights for signs of fraying or chewing and use a grounded three-prong extension cord as a safety precaution. If a pet does chew a cord it can cause electric shock and even death. If you have candles on display, make sure they are in hard to access spots for your pets. Pets could burn themselves, or knock them over and cause a fire.

3: Gift Wrap Ribbon

Opening presents and giving your pet a ribbon collar is fun, but make sure you watch your pet to make sure they don’t ingest it and cause the ribbon to become lodged in their intestines, or tighten the ribbon causing them to choke.

4: Food Hazards

Aww the holidays where we mainly gather to eat! This means lots of food falling on the ground for pets to get! Some of the most popular holiday food items are the most toxic to your pets like chocolate, bones and nuts! The darker the chocolate the more toxic it is to your pet. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea and tremors. Fat trimmings and bones both cooked and uncooked can cause pancreatitis. Bones can also splinter and get lodged in the throat. Nuts including macadamia, walnuts, and pistachios can be toxic to your pet and cause lethargic behavior. Make sure you keep your pets on their regular diets and caution visitors against giving your pet special treats or table scraps!

5: Toxic Holiday Plants

Plants are always pretty to have in the house, but some holiday plants are poisonous, even deadly. Some to beware of are pine needles from your tree, holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia. These plants can cause vomiting, difficulty breathing, weakness and collapse.

And now a few winter tips to be aware of:

-Beware of cats sheltering under cars or hoods. They seek out warmth in the cold nights, and often choose this place to stay warm. Give a good bang on your hood to make sure to scare those kitties out of there.

ANTIFREEZE IS DEADLY! Its thick, very sweet, and irresistible to some pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested or gotten into antifreeze, call your vet immediately and take them in. 

-Wear reflective clothing when going walking at night. It gets darker earlier in the winter, and it is best to put reflective wear on your dog and yourself so your visible in the darkness. 

-Rock salt that people put on their driveways and sidewalks can be irritating and harmful to your pets paws, make sure you use a pet friendly salt on your property, and avoid having your pet walk through other peoples salt on their walkways. 

-Speak up if you see a pet left out in the cold. If you’re concerned, politely let the owner know your concerned. If they don’t respond well, you can contact animal control, but make sure to document the animal and its conditions.

We hope you and your furry family has a safe, happy, and healthy Holiday Season! 

Straight from the dogs mouth with lots of love, Sequoia (and my new brother Timber)


Summer Treats for Your Dog!

Summer is here! And it is getting HOT HOT HOT out there!! (More baths for me, since I turn into a swamp monster… Thanks mom…)

So how can you keep your dog cool and entertained?! Frozen dog treats!!


Me eating a frozen treat!

They are simple and easy to make, and you can put anything you want in them! The one I am eating above is some peanut butter and a crumbled treat frozen in water.

Another delicious frozen treat similar to the one I am eating above is a frozen dog treat bowl with treats and toys in it!


finished dog treat

To make this easy, delicious treat for your pups, first find a rubber cake mold or metal baking pan (though the metal baking pan is a little harder to get the ice out of). Next, find some freezable dog toys and treats! I put in mine a Kong toy, rubber ball, beef bone, and Greenie treat. I put some small and big items so the dogs see there is something in the ice!


toys in water and chicken stock in bowl

Once you put the toys in the mold, fill  half of it with water and the other half of it with sodium free chicken stock. The chicken stock will add flavor and get the dogs interested in the treat! Remember not to fill it all the way to the top of the mold, otherwise when it freezes it will overflow into your freezer!

Freeze the treat for a few hours, until it is solid, then take your ice treat out of the mold and give to the dogs! (Preferably outside as it can get messy!) If you used a metal cake pan, run hot water over the bottom of it for about 30 seconds, and then it should pop out just fine. My fellow dog friends loved it! And it is a great way to keep them entertained and hydrated in the hot weather! (Idea credit to Purple Patch from Pinterest).

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enjoying the delicious treat!

The other treat that our furry dog friends LOVED were PB&J Pops! These are a little more time consuming and more work, but the reward to see your pups enjoy them are priceless! 



1/4 cup Peanut Butter
2 cups Strawberries, chopped (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup Blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1 3/4 cup plain Yogurt, divided
4 Rawhide Sticks

Directions: First Layer
1/4 cup Peanut Butter
3/4 cup plain Yogurt
Add peanut butter and yogurt to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth

Second Layer
2 cups Strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup plain Yogurt
Add strawberries and yogurt to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth

Third Layer
1/2 cup Blueberries
3/4 cup plain Yogurt
Mix blueberries and yogurt

side view

1. Pour an inch or so of your first layer mixture into the bottom of each cup. (We used a red solo cup)
2. Allow to freeze for 30 minutes, and insert your rawhide stick.
3. Repeat pouring the layers, allowing them to set 30 minutes in between, until  they are all used.
4. Freeze for 8 hours to allow them to fully set.
5. Run warm water around the mold to remove the popsicle.
Makes 4 popsicles. (Recipe credit to Doggy Dessert Chef form Pinterest)



Hopefully you will try some of these delicious recipes for your fellow dog babies! I sure did love them and they kept me cool in the Summer heat!


Me and Mom enjoying summer!

Straight from The Dog’s Mouth,

Love, Sequoia 

4th of July Pet Safety Tips!!

Its that time of year… Summer rolls around and with it the 4th of July and Pioneer Day!


Argos and his dad enjoying the 4th rafting!

What does that mean? BBQ’s, party’s, and FIREWORKS! These are may be a lot of fun for humans, but for us Pets, it can be a very terrifying time. Unlike people, pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of fireworks with celebrations. Pets are terrified of fireworks, and often panic at the loud whizzes and bangs they produce.

Because of this, the American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. Why? In a 2005 press release the Indiana Proactive Animal Welfae, Inc. (PAW) stated that animal shelters the day after Fourth of July are “bursting with pets that panicked at the noise of firecrackers and fled into the night, winding up lost, injured or killed.”


Josey celebrating the 4th in a festive bandage!

So here are some tips to help keep your furry babies safe this 4th of July and Pioneer Day!

  • Keep your Pets Inside!

Even if your pet is used to being outside, the panic that can be caused by the fireworks or other loud noises may cause them to jump a fence or escape to find safety. And if you are going to watch a fireworks display, LEAVE YOUR PET AT HOME! It may be fun to take them along with the family, but they can get scared and run away in all the people and noise. Leave them home inside in a safe, quiet, room.


  • Alcoholic Drinks are Poisonous!

Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested they can become very intoxicated and weak, go into a coma, or die from respiratory failure. And yes, ALL alcohol including beer is toxic to your dogs and cats.


  • Don’t Put Insect Repellent on your Pet that isn’t Specifically for Animal Use

Insect Repellent that has DEET (a common insecticide) can cause life long neurological issues.This also includes putting “people” sunscreen on your pet. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. What isn’t toxic to humans can be toxic to animals.


Pet approved sunscreen

  • Never Use Fireworks Around Pets

Exposure to lit fireworks can pose a threat to curious pets and result in severe burns, and trauma to the face and paws. Even unlit fireworks can be hazardous. Most fireworks contain potentially toxic substances lite arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.


  • Don’t Let Your Pet Wear Glow Stick Jewelry 

While it may look cute and festive, your pet could get it off when your not looking and chew up and swallow the plastic pieces. And the glow liquid inside of the plastic tube can be toxic and cause drooling, stomach irritation, and blockage if they swallow big pieces of the plastic container.


  • Citronella Candles are Toxic!

It may keep those pesky mosquitoes away, but citronella candles, oils, insect coils, and other citronella based repellents are irritating toxins to pets. Inhaling the oils could cause pneumonia, and eating any of the products could case damage to the nervous system.


  • Keep your Pets on their Normal Diets

If you are having a barbecue, you may be tempted to give your furry babies some table scraps. But sometimes any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. And keep in mind the other foods that can harm your pet like, beer, chocolate, onions, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt, and yeast dough to name a few.

  • Matches and Lighter Fluid are Harmful

Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets reach. Certain types of matches have a harmful  chemical substance in them, that if ingested can cause difficulty breathing, damage blood cells, and cause kidney disease. Lighter fluid can cause irritation to the skin, and breathing problems if inhaled.


  • Make Sure your Pet is Identified! 

If your pet does manage to break loose and get lost, without proper identification it can be MUCH harder to get your baby back.  Make sure they have ID tags with their name and your phone number on them and get them micro-chipped!


Always remember the safest and best option for celebrating the 4th of July with your pets is to exclude them from the holiday events, and find them a safe, secure spot in your home. We will enjoy the shelter and quiet while our humans enjoy the loud and fun!


Me celebrating the 4th of July!

I hope these tips were helpful, and you’ll stick to them! I know I will be grateful my mom does!

Straight from The Dog’s Mouth,

Love, Sequoia

Giardia… YOU can get it from your pet!

Hello! Today I will be talking all about Giardia! Remember its something YOU and YOUR PET can get!!


Me with a fecal cup for stool!

Giardia is the genus of a protozoan parasite that is infectious to BOTH humans and pets all over the world.  Giardia consists of flagellates, which mean they move by means of several whip-like structures called flagella. They live as a form called a trophozoite, or “troph” for short, in the intestine where they cause diarrhea. In fresh fecal samples, trophozoites can sometimes be captured. They swim around in a motion described as a falling leaf and appear as a funny face (see picture below – the two nuclei form the eyes and median bodies form the mouth).


When stained, the Giardiaorganism appears to have a funny face.

After a short period of time outside the host’s intestine, the trophozoites round up and form cysts that enable them to survive environmental conditions without a host to protect them. The cyst can live for many months with two incompletely formed trophozoites inside, ready to infect a new host. Contaminated water is the classical source of a Giardia infection.


Prime reason to test your dog for Giardia… Kisses!

After infection, it takes 5 to 12 days in dogs or 5 to 16 days in cats for Giardia to be found in the host’s stool. Diarrhea can precede the shedding of Giardia.  Infection is more common in kennel situations where animals are housed in groups.After it has been swallowed, the cyst shell is digested away, freeing the two trophozoites that go forth and attach on the intestinal lining. The troph has a structure called a ventral disc, which is sort of like a suction cup and is used to attach the organism’s body to the intestine. If the troph wants to move to another spot, it lifts itself up and swims to a new spot via its flagella (trophs tend to live in different intestinal areas in different host species depending the host’s diet). The troph may round itself up and form a cyst while still inside the host’s body. If the host has diarrhea, both trophs and cysts may be shed in the diarrhea; either form can be found in fresh stool.



How Does Giardia Cause Diarrhea?

No one is completely sure but infection seems to cause problems with normal intestinal absorption of vitamins and other nutrients. Diarrhea is generally not bloody. Immune-suppressive medications such as corticosteroids can re-activate an old Giardia infection.



In the past, diagnosis was difficult. The stool sample being examined needed to be fresh, plus Giardia rarely show up on the usual fecal flotation testing methods used to detect other parasites. Traditionally, a fecal sample is mixed in a salt or sugar solution such that any parasite eggs present will float to the top within 10 to15 minutes.  Some tricks that have been used to facilitate finding Giardia include:

  • Being sure to examine a direct smear of the fecal sample in hope of finding swimming trophs.
  • Floating the sample in zinc sulfate, a solution that has been found superior in getting Giardia cysts to float.
  • Staining the sample with some sort of iodine under the microscope to make the Giardia show up easier.

What has made Giardia testing infinitely easier is the development of a commercial ELISA test kit, which is similar in format to home pregnancy test kits. A fecal sample is tested immunologically for Giardiaproteins. This method has dramatically improved the ability to detect Giardia infections and the test can be completed in just a few minutes while the owner waits.

Giardia shed organisms intermittently and may be difficult to detect. Sometimes pets must be retested in order to find an infection.


Sample of Giardia positive test result



A broad spectrum dewormer called fenbendazole (Panacur®) seems to be the most reliable treatment at this time. Metronidazole (Flagyl®) in relatively high doses has been a classical treatment for Giardia but studies show it to only be effective in 67% of cases. The high doses required to treat Giardia also have been known to result in temporary neurologic side effects or upset stomach. For some resistant cases, both medications are used concurrently. Febantel is also commonly used for Giardia as it is converted to fenbendazole in the body.

Because cysts can stick to the fur of the infected patient and be a source for re-infection, the positive animal should be bathed at least once in the course of treatment.

Not all patients with Giardia actually have diarrhea but because Giardia is the most common intestinal parasite affecting humans in North America, treatment is generally recommended for the pet who tests positive even if no symptoms are seen. The idea is to reduce human exposure.



Environmental Decontamination

The most readily available effective disinfectant is probably bleach diluted 1:32 in water, which in one study required less than one minute of contact to kill Giardia cysts. Organic matter such as dirt or stool is protective to the cyst, so on a concrete surface basic cleaning should be done prior to disinfection. Animals should be thoroughly bathed before being reintroduced into a “clean” area. A properly chlorinated swimming pool should not be able to become contaminated.  As for areas with lawn or plants, decontamination will not be possible without killing the plants and allowing the area to dry out in direct sunlight.


Bath time to get clean!

There you have it! If you think your dog might have Giardia call to schedule an appointment today! 385-414-2188!

Straight from The Dog’s Mouth,

Love, Sequoia

Struvite Crystals… Pesky Buggers

What causes Struvite crystals?

Struvite crystals are also known as magnesium ammonium phosphate crystals, The causes of struvite crystals include extremely alkaline urine (often from a biologically inappropriate diet), high steroid use, abnormal retention of urine, a urinary tract infection, or another disorder of the urinary tract.


Crystals under the microscope

Symptoms of Struvite Crystals

Some pets with show no symptoms, but common symptoms include frequent urination, straining to urinate, an abnormal urinary stream (for example, the dog lifts his leg and maybe a few drops come out, and then a few drops more), urinating in inappropriate places (especially if it’s an indoor kitty), cloudy or bloody urine, and oftentimes, increased thirst.


Treating Crystals

The first thing to do for a pet with crystals to create a healthy urine pH that is neither too acidic nor too alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. Everything above 7 is alkaline, and everything below 7 is acidic.

Dogs and cats, as carnivores, should have a slightly acidic urine pH, optimally between 6 and 6.5. We want to maintain the urine pH at no more than 7, because a higher pH will predispose the animal to developing struvite crystals.

Some pets are genetically predisposed to producing a protein called cauxin, which is excreted into the urine, causing sterile crystals or sterile struvite crystalluria. This means the crystals can form without the presence of infection. These animals are very prone to chronic cystitis, as these sharp crystals cause microtrauma to the lining of the bladder that results in discomfort and irritation.

To reduce urine pH – which is the goal in most struvite situations – you must feed your pet a Veterinary Prescription food like Royal Canin Urinary S/O.

Creating more dilute urine by offering a moisture-rich diet is critical to avoiding a recurrence of crystals. A species-appropriate diet in combination with infection management is often effective at dissolving struvite crystals, but it can take a few weeks to several months for the crystals to completely disappear.


Crystal formation chart

Why is it important to treat for struvite crystals?

If left untreated, struvite crystals will aggregate and form struvite stones. These stones can become lodged in the urethra or the ureters (the tubes that connect the kidney to the bladder). In most cases, the stones must be removed surgically along with any stones that don’t dissolve despite dietary changes and medical management.

Surgery to remove a bladder stone is known as cystotomy. Depending on the patient and the location and size of the stone, there are some other less invasive procedures that might be appropriate. These include a technique called laser lithotripsy that breaks down stones into smaller pieces that can then be voided out, and a procedure called voiding urohydropropulsion, which is a technique that involves manually expressing stones out through the urethra while the patient is sedated.

If your pet has been diagnosed with struvite crystals or stones, it’s imperative that you continue treatment until the condition is resolved, and then incorporate a proactive prevention plan to avoid recurrence.

A urinalysis should be completed monthly until all the crystals are dissolved and then every six months to ensure your pet isn’t brewing additional crystals or stones


Me hoping I don’t end up in the dog house with crystals in my urine!!

To make sure your furry friend like me doesn’t get urinary crystals, you can take precautionary steps to avoid them, like giving your dog filtered water!

There you have it!

Straight from The Dog’s Mouth,

Love, Sequoia

Why do IV Fluids with Surgery?


The next time your canine companion needs a surgical procedure, you might want to ask your veterinarian if she or he administers IV fluids during every surgery, no matter how minor. WE ALWAYS DO with dogs and cats!


Dog on IV fluids

A recent study performed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine points to the importance of administering IV fluids during even minor surgery on pets. This is currently the recommended standard of care, but isn’t practiced routinely in many veterinary hospitals.

For the study, the UPenn researchers focused on the effect of IV fluids on the network of small arterioles, venules, and capillaries that directly feed an animal’s tissues and cells. Collectively this network of small vessels is known as the micro-circulation.

The researchers used a video microscope to capture the blood flow of dogs undergoing spays and discovered that increasing the amount of IV fluid they received improved the number of vessels receiving blood flow.




Monitoring Blood Flow at the Cellular Level

Your dog’s circulatory system transports oxygen and nutrients to the cells and tissues of his body, and removes waste products and carbon dioxide. Arteries and veins travel to and from the heart, lungs, and other organs, and these larger vessels branch off into smaller arterioles and venules that contract and expand to allow blood to flow to and from the capillaries. Cells reside inside the network of tiny capillaries.

Depending on his hydration level, metabolism, hormones, and other factors, your dog’s body can regulate when and how much blood travels to different parts of his circulatory system.

Anesthesia can inhibit the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure, and the combination of fluid loss and anesthetic drugs can result in a decrease in blood flow to and from the cells of your pet’s body.


Inserting IV catheter to give anesthesia and meds through.

According to lead study author Deborah Silverstein, an associate professor at UPenn in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Clinical Studies:

“When we monitor a patient’s blood pressure or oxygen levels, we’re not always able to discern what is happening at the cellular level. Sometimes there are tissues and cells that are getting a surplus of oxygen while other cells or tissues are in need of more, but our measuring the big things, like blood pressure, doesn’t tell us that. The only way we figure that out is when the patient develops organ dysfunction or new complications arise following anesthesia.”


What Silverstein is saying is that vital sign monitoring procedures used during surgery don’t give a complete picture of how things are going in the cells and tissues fed by the microcirculatory system.

In human medicine, it’s routine during even the most minor surgical procedures to administer an IV drip to offset fluid loss. The same standard of care is recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), however, it isn’t uniformly practiced by all veterinarians, probably because of the added cost.


Tech monitoring pet during surgery


Study Results Indicate That IV Fluids Affect Circulation During Veterinary Surgical Procedures

When they reviewed the videos, the researchers found no differences among the three groups in the number of vessels receiving blood flow or the amount of blood flow. To their surprise, they also found no differences among the groups in the tiny capillaries that are less than 20 micrometers in diameter.

The researchers did, however, see a difference in the blood vessels larger than 20 micrometers. The dogs in the group that received the highest level of fluids had greater densities of these blood vessels than the other two groups.

These results suggest that fluids do affect circulation, but more research is needed to better understand what this information means, as well as the optimal rate of fluid delivery. According to researcher Silverstein:

“The larger vessels are the ones that are constricting and dilating to feed the microcirculation. And it appears that the animals that got the highest rate of fluids in this study – which may not be the optimal rate – are the ones that seemed to have the greatest recruitment of arterioles and venules.”

During their spay surgeries, about a third of the dogs in the study had a drop in blood pressure that required an infusion of fluids, which further emphasizes the need for constant blood pressure monitoring as well as IV fluid support.

Silverstein noted that some of the dogs might have gone into surgery slightly dehydrated after spending the night in the hospital and possibly refusing to eat or drink due to stress.


The Microcirculatory System: So Small, But So Important

The researchers hope to conduct future studies using different types and amounts of IV fluids to test their impact on the microcirculation. She also plans to continue her study of microcirculation in animals with diseases such as sepsis to see if measuring blood flow to the smallest vessels can be used to better detect or predict outcomes. Silverstein says she loves being able to focus on something so small, but so important.

“The microcirculatory system is one of the largest organs in the body but impossible for the naked eye to see.”



Me resting

So there you have it! Why you should make sure your pet ALWAYS gets fluids during surgery! I want to be sure all my friends receive the best care….and this will happen with EVERY surgery at my mommas hospital!

Straight from The Dog’s Mouth,

Love, Sequoia

My dog has MRSP! What does that mean?

Does your furry friend have a skin infection that just doesn’t seem to respond to ANYTHING your vet prescribes?  Has your friend been on a few different antibiotics?  Is the skin infection spreading all over your friend and your friend is uncomfortable? WELL IT’S TIME FOR A SKIN CULTURE!!!

Trust me, this is the best thing to do….I know about this personally….I almost lost all my hair because of MRSP….I’m 14 and my immune system isn’t up to par….my friend Quincy also has this problem.  I’m hoping that this blog can help Quincy find a foster home AND help other furry friends who might have resistant skin infections as well….these skin infections aren’t the end of the world, they just need more progressive care….COME SEE MY MOMMA!  My momma and her staff at Union Park Veterinary Hospital have now successfully treated 5 cases of this IN THE PAST MONTH!!!

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) IS BECOMING VERY PREVALENT DUE TO INDISCRIMANT/”SHOTGUN” ANTIBIOTIC USE in older and immunocompromised pets! 

This bacteria was previously known as Staphylococcus intermedius (MRSI).

MRSP is NOT the same as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which affects humans.


MRSP rash and sores on the belly.



Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is the most common species of bacteria found on dogs. Usually, this bacteria resides on the skin but does not cause any problems.

However, some dogs develop a skin infection (pyoderma) that can usually be cleared with one of the common antibiotics.

A small percentage of dogs may develop skin infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP), which means that the more common antibiotics will not clear the infection.

This bacteria is most common in pets with recurrent skin infections due to underlying causes such as allergies, endocrine diseases, or other reasons for immune compromise (old age, cancer, etc).


Close up of some skin sores.



Staphylococcus pseudintermedius causes infections in pets and only rarely causes infections in people.

However, because this is a more resistant bacteria than the usual bacteria that infects pets, we want to decrease the chance of it being transmitted to you or your family.

The most important thing that you can do is frequent hand-washing after touching your pet and always before meals.

If you or family members are immune compromised, you should either avoid direct contact with your pet or thoroughly wash your hands after handling.

Remember, the risk of transmission to humans is very low. If, however, you develop a non-healing skin wound, please see your physician.


Megan loving on Quincy.

Megan one of our tech’s said “I can love on and interact with Quincy all day. I give her a bath every other day, put ointment on her rash and sores, and scrub her wounds with my bare hands and then just wash them and go home to my pets who don’t have it, and haven’t gotten it because I wash my hands thoroughly.”



The best thing we can do to treat MRSP in your pet, is aggressive topical therapies. It is very important that you follow treatment instructions exactly as given to you so the infection will be cleared.


Quincy’s basic plan.



  1. How did my pet get MRSP?

Similar to human medicine, resistant bacteria are becoming more common in veterinary patients.

We see this bacteria most often in patients with a history of recurrent skin infections and previous antibiotic use.

In order to prevent future infections we will work with you to identify and control the underlying cause (allergies, endocrine disease). We must control the underlying cause in order to reduce skin infection recurrence.

  1. Can my other pets catch this bacteria?

Pets that live together share bacteria. Thus, other dogs or cats in the home may be colonized with MRSP.

As long as the other animals have no underlying diseases that predispose them to skin infections, then the bacteria should not cause problems.

If other pets develop skin lesions, then examination by your regular veterinarian and possible skin culture should be performed to determine if MRSP is the cause.


Quincy says “you can still love me with MRSP!”

There you have it! Dogs that get MRSP, (like me and Quincy) can still be loved and because our humans washed their hands, they didn’t get it and we can be cured of this pesky bacteria!  Remember, any non healing skin wound needs a proper work up which includes a skin culture…not just more oral antibiotics…..

Straight from The Dog’s Mouth,

Love, Sequoia