The Gold Standard: What it Means to be AAHA Accredited

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AAHACommunity Pet Hospital of Tigard is proud to be recognized through the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). While this special distinction isn’t on every pet owner’s radar, our alliance with this national organization ensures that our animal patients receive the best possible care. Only a small percentage of other hospitals receive this distinction, and we’re thrilled to pass on what it truly means for your pet to be cared for by an AAHA accredited provider.

True Innovation

The American Animal Hospital Association was formed in 1933 by veterinary professionals inspired by setting – and upholding – excellent standards. Beyond conducting and publishing current veterinary research, AAHA supports its members to achieve the greatness worthy of the alliance. Today, over 3,700 veterinary practices are AAHA accredited.

The Numbers Are In

Human hospitals follow strict protocols that elevate care, reduce mortality, and minimize complications. Veterinary hospitals are not required to be AAHA accredited, but when they are, pet owners can expect that best practices are always enforced. With third-party oversight, not only are high standards in play, but a pet owner can also expect better outcomes for their pet.

In other words, choosing an associated hospital leads to a better outcome. Who could argue with that?

Continue…

Leptospirosis and Pets: A Real Risk to Pets and People

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There are many pros when it comes to living in Oregon, and depending on who you are, our climate may or may not be one of them. The rain we see in this area is a highlight to some, but there is no doubt that it brings its own set of challenges.

One thing that our wet climate brings to the forefront is an increased risk of certain diseases. The CDC has recently identified our area as a hotbed for the disease leptospirosis, which affects pets and people. Community Pet Hospital thinks it is very important for our clients to understand this disease and what can be done to keep leptospirosis and pets from intermingling.

An Intro to Leptospirosis and Pets

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the spiral-shaped organism Leptospira interrogans. The bacteria gains access to the pet’s bloodstream by entering through the skin or mucous membranes.

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Pet Dental Care: Something to Chew On

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While having “doggie breath” may not be associated with anything “minty fresh”, bad breath in pets is considered normal far too often. But did you know that bad breath is a common sign of underlying pet dental problems?

Pet dental care is one of the most neglected forms of health care among cats and dogs. This results in more than two-thirds of all pets developing dental disease.

Part of the confusion is the misinformation around pet dental products and the perceived difficulty of at-home care. That’s why your friends at Community Pet Hospital want to shed some light on the subject.

A Chew by Any Other Name

In the quest to fight periodontal disease, many owners rely heavily on dental products. While these products can help remove food, debris, and some plaque from the teeth, they’re not a reliable method of combating dental disease or promoting good oral health on their own.

Continue…

Are You Ready for the Pet Dental Care Challenge?

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The new year is a fantastic time to press the reset button and establish various goals for the coming months. Whatever your intentions for the new year, they’re more attainable when you have someone to support or assist you.

This is especially true for your pet. While not hung up on personal or professional changes, he or she might benefit from an upgrade in the health department. If it’s been awhile since you’ve addressed pet dental care, now is the perfect time.

Maintenance is Key

Good dental health for your pet starts at home. Daily tooth brushing stops plaque and tartar from building up, bonding together, and forming calculus. Left alone, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) can develop, leading to periodontal disease. These effects go beyond bad breath, however; systemic illness in the heart, kidney, and even the liver can result from poor oral health.

Shopping Around

Many over-the-counter pet dental care products deserve their place in your arsenal. However, hard dental chews (such as antlers, hooves, and bones) can actually fracture teeth. Also, please keep in mind that dental treats and chews add extra calories to your pet’s diet.

Continue…

The Meaningful Reach of Holiday Pet Safety

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Are you ready for the holidays? Between tree trimming, house decorating, and festive parties, there might be a collective wish for more minutes (or hours) in the day – there’s just too much to do!

We all get carried away when it comes to the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we can let safety slide. From upset routines to strange houseguests, hazardous decor to poisonous food, holiday pet safety must also include a sharp eye on festive plants.

The Risky Greens

The novelty of holiday plants is part of what makes them so dangerous. Bringing a new potted plant into your home may trigger an automatic canine or feline investigation. This is normal, of course, but especially for a kitten or puppy, the consumption of holiday plants can be extremely dangerous. Continue…

Keeping Pet Pancreatitis Off Your Holiday Menu

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High FiveIt’s likely that when you think of Thanksgiving, food comes to mind. Whether you’re hosting or traveling with your pet, there’s no doubt the season revolves around lots of food and delicious treats.

As a pet owner, it can be challenging to keep your fur friend away from all the savory, fatty, and sometimes toxic foods. Moreover, while you might know a little about which dishes can be harmful, pet pancreatitis is a less well-known threat that often goes unchecked until it’s too late.

An Overview of Pet Pancreatitis

If you’re familiar with the condition, you know that pancreatitis can lead to a painful emergency situation. Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. This organ is responsible for digestive enzymes and insulin production.

While there are no absolute causes of pancreatitis, it has been linked to certain factors, such as:

Continue…

Fall Pet Safety for the Most Colorful Time of Year

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A happy dog running through leaves with a toy in it's mouthOh, autumn…a time of hayrides, pumpkin flavored lattes, and beautiful strolls in the crisp evening air. Without question, fall is a fun season for pets and their owners. However, this time of year also brings unique risks that may come as a surprise to some. To make this the loveliest season ever, consider our tips for fall pet safety.

Don’t Forget Parasite Prevention!

A common mistake among pet owners is assuming that colder weather means no more parasites. Unfortunately, many of these pesky insects continue to thrive year round since there are always opportunities to find warmth (like attaching to a deer or your pet!). Thanks to climate change, our winters have also become milder, keeping the reproductive cycles of fleas, ticks, and heartworms active.

Just one lapsed month in heartworm prevention can put your beloved pet at risk. You’ll also have to spend time and money having your pet screened before he or she can resume a monthly medication. Therefore, it’s best to play it safe, and avoid an infestation in your home or on your pet!

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Making Pet Dental Health a Priority

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Playing with Happy DogMany of us don’t care to take a close look at our pet’s mouth, but we certainly notice when our doggy or kitty’s breath becomes a problem. Unfortunately, when pet dental health is neglected, many issues can soon follow. From periodontal disease and tooth loss to systemic infections and secondary diseases, good dental care is essential to protecting your pet’s overall health.

The Dental Exam

Dental and oral health is a big component of your pet’s annual wellness visit. That’s why it’s important to choose a practice such as ours that has expertise in veterinary dentistry. Continue…

So Cool: Frozen Pet Treats Guaranteed to Satisfy

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Dog And A Red PopsicleBetween the scorching heat and stifling humidity of summer, we are all struggling to maintain our enthusiasm. While we know that the more pleasant temperatures of fall are on their way, Tigard’s pets are not so sure.

How can you keep your pet comfortable during these final “dog days” of summer? With frozen pet treats, of course!

Heat Dangers

Undoubtedly, the summer months pose numerous risks to your pet, including heatstroke, dehydration, burned paw pads, and more. When you know how to prevent such things from occurring, your pet can still have a great summer by your side. Continue…

Travel With Pets: Do You Need A Pet Health Certificate?

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If you’ve ever taken your pet on an airplane, you probably had to obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (also known as a pet health certificate) ahead of time.  But did you know you also need to have a pet health certificate just to cross state lines with your pet in a vehicle?

That’s right, all those quick trips up to Vancouver or Seattle with your 3 Great Danes riding happily in the back of your 2-door sports car were actually illegal without a pet health certificate. But never fear, your friends at Community Pet Hospital are here to help you learn the ins and outs of pet health certificates. Continue…

Why Pet Wellness Matters

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Chameleon on unrecognizable veterinarian's arm.Many pet owners wonder why we schedule pets for once or twice yearly pet wellness exams, especially if the pet is showing no outward signs of illness. The truth is, preventive care is the cornerstone of health and wellness for both people and pets. Regular wellness care allows us to get to know your pet, address any questions or concerns you may have, and diagnose and treat and potential conditions before they become serious problems.

At Community Pet Hospital, we believe that all pets deserve access to high quality wellness care. The following is an overview of what we look for at regular pet wellness exams, and also what you can observe at home. Continue…

Why should you license your dog?

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By Bobbie Kramer, DVM

We had just moved to Hillsboro, with our 4 cats and little old terrier Trixie. Poor Trixie

was having trouble with her hearing and vision, and didn’t really know where she lived

yet. When she went missing, we were so scared she’d be lost and alone, and that we’d

never find her. Fortunately, she was brought by a Good Samaritan to Bonnie Hayes

Animal Shelter in Hillsboro, after paying a small fee to bail her out, she was home with us

again. After that, we made sure her microchip registration was updated, and we licensed

her with Washington County.

The idea of having to have a license to have a dog really bothers some folks. But having a

current license for your dog isn’t just the law, it could save your pet’s life. License­tagged

pets are more likely to be brought to the shelter for safe keeping, and can be returned to

their families much more quickly. Your license fee helps support the Washington County

Animal Services staff which runs Bonnie Hayes Animal Shelter as well as programs that

take care of stray animals, protects neighborhoods from dangerous dogs, investigates dog

bites and cases of cruelty and neglect. Washington County Animal Control plays a vital

role in keeping people and pets safe. Last year, they reunited over 1,100 lost dogs with

their families.

Many people have their pets microchipped to help identify them in case they are lost.

This is a fantastic idea, but having a tag, too, is vital, since not everyone has a microchip

reader. Your pet is much more likely to be returned to you if his license tag is up to date.

In Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties, dogs over 6 months old are required

by law to be licensed. If you’ve just moved to town, you have 30 days to obtain a license

from the county you and your pet live in. Right now, there’s no requirement to license

cats. Veterinarians in Multnomah and Washington counties are required to send Rabies

vaccination information to the county, so Animal Control can check if your pet’s license is

current.

A license is required even if your dog is always on your property, is always indoors, or

lives on a farm. Dogs are required by law to wear their license tags whenever they’re on

walks, at the dog park, or anywhere off of their home property.

Purchasing or renewing a license is easy. You can do it at the clinic when you’re here for

your pet’s vaccines, online, by mail or in person at Bonnie Hayes Animal Shelter. You will

need the following information when you order a dog license:

• Pet information (name, breed, color, age, etc.)

• Your veterinarian’s name

• Current rabies certificate

• Date of rabies vaccination and expiration date

In Washington County the fee to license your dog is much lower if your pet is spayed or

neutered, and discounts are available for multi­year licenses and for senior citizen

owners. A one year license for a neutered dog is $22. You don’t need a rabies certificate to

get a puppy license for pets less than six months old. Puppy licenses are free!

What To Do If You Find A Baby Bird

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tulipsWith spring in full force, it is not uncommon for people to find baby birds that appear to have fallen out of their nests. Would you know what to do if you found a baby bird on the ground? The best thing to do is contact the Audubon Society’s Wildlife Care Center at (503) 292-0304. Be sure to check out their webpage for more baby bird tips.

What To Do If You Find A Baby Bird

 

 

Can Your Dog or Cat Be Allergic to You?

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cats-and-dogs2930Yes, they can! And they can be allergic to each other as well. Allergies are very common in dogs and cats and can be caused by all kinds of grasses, pollens, trees, mold and animals – just like people. For more information about pet allergies, including signs to watch for, please check out the following webpage from National Geographic:

Can Your Dog or Cat Be Allergic to You?

 

Fleas and Ticks: How one Hot Scientist and her Pocket Protector Help your Pets

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Fleas and Ticks: How one Hot Scientist and her Pocket Protector Help your Pets

Photo courtesy of CDC

I have a great deal of respect for most forms of life on this planet – wallabies, fruit bats, chupacabras, even the lowly sea slug. I make a living treating dogs and cats, so I owe the very roof over my family’s head to the existence of animals. But if I had to select two groups of animals and set them apart for a special form of loathing, kick them off the Ark, so to speak, I would choose fleas and ticks. I am sure in the grand scheme of things they must serve some higher purpose, but I am at a loss to see what it is. All they do is suck blood, reproduce and spread itchy misery and disease. If it were up to me (no offense, Mother Nature or Higher Power) they could be disposed of altogether and I would be perfectly content. I’m sure your pets would agree with me on this one.

 

Grossness and plague-carrying aside, you can’t question their success and hardiness. Fleas are hard to kill with conventional means. I have tried to squoosh countless numbers of them with my fingernail, exerting, no doubt, oodles of pounds-per-square-flea to no avail, and when I let up they just sit there staring at me, as if to say “nice try, bub” before hopping off to spread disease and suck more blood. Anemia can be a huge problem. I have had to administer blood transfusions to lots and lots of poor little cats and dogs who have almost literally been sucked dry of blood, not to mention the many diseases that can be passed on by the bite of an infected flea. Diseases like, oh, I don’t know, THE PLAGUE! Yes, that plague, the one that killed about half of Europe 600 years ago. That was from fleas.

I had a little stray dog as a patient who was severely anemic due to the thousands of fleas covering him all over. Luckily, due to a good bath, some flea combing and a flea treatment he has made a full recovery and now has a good home.

Thank goodness some smart, pocket-protectored, slide-rule wielding scientist-type (I like to think she’s someone who would be just stunning if she would only let down her bun and take off those darn glasses!) developed life-changing (for the flea) compounds that effectively and safely kill adults and prevent flea eggs from hatching.

Don’t even get me started on ticks. Okay, I started, I better finish. Let’s start with the name. Tick – seriously. Just say it: tick. It sounds like you are trying to cough something up, and rhymes with yuck (sorta). Fleas are bad enough, but they are small and easily missed. Ticks are like big, ugly, obese Jabba-the-Hut-looking things. They suck blood, transmit deadly diseases and are really, really ugly. That’s like the gross-out trifecta. It’s somehow far worse, at least for me, to think of a big, engorged tick passing along nasty diseases while feasting on your pet’s blood than a tiny flea. Ticks can carry diseases with well-nigh unpronounceable names like Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis, as well as better-known ones like Lyme disease  and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Luckily, that same hot scientist and her slide-rule also developed some pretty awesome compounds that work against ticks, so you’ll have to worry less about one of them latching on to your dog or cat in the future and causing badness. No more messy powders, stinky collars or kooky home remedies that have more place in a loaf of bread than in your dog. (Saccharomyces – I’m talkin’ to you!)

With a little prevention in the form of flea products obtained from your family veterinarian or the pet store (there are dozens available now), you can rest assured knowing that your pet is safe from the gross horrors and utterly unaesthetic unappealingness of disease-carrying fleas and ticks. All thanks to that hot scientist and her pocket protector. They sure could have used her during the Middle Ages. See? Science is so cool!

 

By Tony Johnson, DVM, ACVECC for VIN Information Network

Signs of Cancer

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Photo by The John Urban Production Co.

Most of veterinary school is the sort of info-packed blur of a distant past that probably belonged to someone else. (Hey, it was 25 years ago!) But a few key moments and phrases jump out of that rapidly spinning highlight reel. One is a professor saying, “Cancer does whatever it wants.”

 

In its most general sense, cancer – officially known as neoplasia – happens when perfectly quiet, normal cells don leather jackets and go on a vandalism spree. Basically cancer cells occur as the result of DNA mutation that removes the normal checks and balances on cell metabolism. These cells then go berserk, reproducing and growing faster and without the normal constraints of other cells. They take up space, eat all the food, and beat up their neighbors.

Cancer can affect any tissue in the body, so the options for signs (symptoms) are pretty extensive. That means any list of “Signs to Look For” will be both incomplete and not apply in every case. But, disclaimers aside, here’s my best shot.

  • Lumps, bumps, funny scabby bits, non-healing wounds. Generally things that don’t belong on the skin and are refusing to go away on their own need attention. This is doubly true if they’re growing, spreading, funny colors, or weird shapes. Your vet may recommend a biopsy or needle aspirate. Say yes.
  • Mystery limp. In general if your pet has a sore leg, the kind thing to do is to get it checked out. But, cancer can affect both muscle and bone and definitely gets higher on the list if there is no known cause of injury and especially for certain breeds. Your vet may recommend X-rays. Say yes.
  • Weight loss. Lots of things can cause an animal to lose weight, and cancer is one of those. If your pet has lost weight (and you haven’t put him on a crash diet or bought him a treadmill), it’s time for a vet visit. Your vet may recommend blood tests, X-rays, or an ultrasound. Say yes.
  • Change in activity. Like weight loss, a sudden drop in energy isn’t specific for any particular disease. However, unless you and your dog just ran a marathon, or your cat can’t get off the laser pointer train, it’s not normal for animals to have a sudden case of the blahs. Your vet may recommend….You get the drill.
  • Unexplained vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing. Again, these are all signs that point to the veterinarian’s office under any circumstances.
  • Random bleeding – nosebleeds, skin bruising, blood in stool or vomit. Clotting problems can also be genetic or the result of poisoning.

You may have noticed that I said to say yes to the diagnostic recommendations in this list. Because cancer can do whatever it wants, the longer it runs amok, the more it’s like a teenager without any boundaries. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment or at least the sooner you’ll know the likely outcome.

 

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM for VIN Information Network