Spring Pet Safety Tips: Mushroom Toxicity

By Dr. Wendy Merideth

Mushrooms play an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter. They are fundamental in nutrient cycling and exchange within ecosystems. Unfortunately, though, many of the mushrooms in Oregon are toxic to pets.

In late spring and early summer, Sunriver Veterinary Clinic in Central Oregon treats many patients for mushroom toxicity. These animals may present with profuse drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, or they may be in a coma. Apart from such obvious symptoms, bear in mind that toxic mushrooms can also injure your pet’s liver.

Treatment involves the induction of vomiting (if the animal is conscious) to empty the stomach of remaining mushrooms. Intravenous fluids are then initiated to help flush toxins from the bloodstream. Activated charcoal, given by mouth, binds the toxins within the gastrointestinal tract and the toxins that circulate through the liver and bile. Pets may also need supportive liver medications and supplements. With treatment, the prognosis is good.
 
Please inspect your yard for mushrooms and watch your dogs closely on the trail this time of year. Unless you are a mushroom expert, please assume all mushrooms are toxic to pets! Wear gloves when removing them from your yard and throw them away in a place your pet can’t reach.
 
If your pet ever ingests a mushroom, contact your veterinarian immediately.  

Dr. Merideth incorporates both traditional and alternative veterinary medicine in the care of pets at her  Sunriver Veterinary Clinic  in Central Oregon. She especially likes helping older pets feel better through acupuncture.

Dr. Merideth incorporates both traditional and alternative veterinary medicine in the care of pets at her Sunriver Veterinary Clinic in Central Oregon. She especially likes helping older pets feel better through acupuncture.

SPLASH! Dock Diving

by Christy Doherty

As one of the fastest-growing canine sports in the world, dock diving is making a big splash with dogs and humans alike. Enthusiasts in the Northwest are fortunate that Hillsboro is home to an indoor dock diving facility.

The facility makes year-round practice and competition both possible and fun. “The dream of opening a combination rehab and indoor dock diving facility became real almost four years ago,” explains Diane Kunkle, certified Canine Rehab Practitioner, who co-owns Paws Aquatics Water Sports and Rehab with Julie Thomas.

In dock-diving events, dogs run the length of a dock and leap as far as possible into the water, competing for distance, height, or -- in timed events -- for speed. Human competitors throw a prized toy just out of reach, motivating dogs to keep their momentum and launch into the pool at the best-possible angle.

The sport offers variations on the diving theme. For example, an in-the-air retrieve event, the coveted dog toy is suspended four feet above the water to start, moving higher as dogs complete each level.

With its growing popularity, the sport is drawing a wider variety of breeds. “About 10 years ago, it was pretty much all Labs, but then the other breeds started to try it. Right now Whippets kind of rule the sport,” Kunkle explained.

When Spot Magazine attended a February dock diving event, a Whippet named Sounders jumped so far he touched the back of the pool -- a little over 33.5 feet. The impressive dive matched his world-record jump in December’s National competition.

It’s an equal-opportunity sport. Whether low-slung lap dog or tall Russian Wolfhound, in this game, size really doesn’t matter, and the mix of breeds is endless. The sport’s organizing body, North America Diving Dogs (NADD), divides dogs into two size divisions -- those 16 inches or taller at the withers, and those shorter. There are also divisions like novice, junior, senior, master and elite within each height category.

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Getting their Paws Wet

Dogs benefit from the equalizing effect of water, making the sport accessible to all sizes and ages. “All they need is a strong toy drive and a love for swimming,” Kunkle enthused. “We have two labs who still compete at age 14.”

Kunkle says new dogs get a slow introduction to the sport. “We start them off the side deck, only 8 inches off the water, before moving them to the dock,” she explained.

Jenn Zimmerly-Offinga of Hillsboro competes with Motive, a Boston Terrier whose food drive outpaces her interest in toys. The pair manage a compromise. “For Motive, it’s all about food,” Zimmerly-Offinga laughs. “She doesn’t work for free. Food IS her reward, and there’s no food allowed on the dock. We have to go flying right back to the crate, because she needs a paycheck. Some dogs are volunteers; some need a paycheck. Motive needs an edible paycheck.”

Her first diving dog, Hoodlum, was the 2015 NADD Senior Lapdog National Champion, inspiring many Boston Terriers and other “littles” to follow his example. Hoodlum’s success drew Zimmerly-Offinga’s friend from Canada, Mary Young, into dock diving. She has elite jumpers and announces at events.

Young’s dog, Swindle -- a female Belgian Malinois -- is an elite jumper who jumps far and high.  Swindle is “the best counter surfer around, and likes to sleep under the blankets at night curled in between her humans. She loves everything she does and gives 100% every time,” Young says.

Motive and Swindle went to Nationals last year, where almost 800 dogs competed. “I think there were about 20 dogs from the Pacific Northwest,” Zimmerly-Offinga enthused. The Pacific Northwest offers other diving event locales, including a mobile dock, but the indoor venue is a favorite of some dogs who -- like Motive – hate cold water.  “We call her Sensitive Sally because she doesn’t like to jump into cold water. She likes to jump at PAWS, because the water is warm.”

Zimmerly-Offinga is also training Frantic, a puppy Young gifted her. “Frantic is a Boston Terrier/Whippet/Staffy mix, all legs. He’s very cute, After I lost Hoodlum to GI lymphoma, I said I didn’t need another dog. At diving events, Mary kept saying I did, since Motive doesn’t like cold water. She ended up making a four-hour drive for a puppy I said I didn’t want, and she brought Frantic back.”

That’s what friends are for.

Diving All In

Competing with Quiver, the AKC National Champion Doberman, Teresa Ross of Vancouver, WA was amazed how quickly her dogs mastered diving. “We just started. Neither dog was swimming this summer; they were babies,” Ross explained. “and in August, Avatar was in her first competition.”

Dee Morasco of Amboy, WA was at the competition with her veteran Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Rex, who has been to Nationals in Florida three times. Morasco also brought along a puppy who was adjusting to the excitement. “I’ve been doing dock diving since 2003,” Morasco explained. “It’s a good family sport. Kids as young as 7 can be up there, because two people can be on the dock.”

It’s hard to just get a little bit into the sport. Mary Young confesses, “Oh yes I’m the addicted one. I have three dogs that compete: Swindle and Scandal, my two Belgian Malinois; and Quiz, an Australian Cattle Dog. They are all amazing!”

Immersed in dog sports for over 25 years, including flyball, agility, barn hunt, lure coursing, nose work, urban mushing, obedience, Superdogs and dock diving, Young finds “dock diving seems to be a much more family-friendly event and while people are competitive and want their dogs to do the best they can, the joy of watching all the different dogs and people on the dock is what it’s really all about.”  

Young still competes in agility and flyball, and teaches flyball classes at home in British Columbia, “But the dock diving community is powerful and much more welcoming for all newcomers of all the different size dogs/breeds/mixes – it just doesn’t matter.” 

A tiny jumper’s personal best may be nine feet where the big jumpers sail out 32 feet or farther, but “the human-dog team is what keeps people coming back,” Young asserts. “I live in BC Canada and drive to Oregon for all their events. What I love most about diving is the camaraderie amongst competitors encouraging and helping with each other. We are competitors, but most are friends first,” she said with a smile.

Maybe the sport is wildly popular because, at its heart, it’s all about fun – for people and dogs. “The dogs smile,” Zimmerly-Offinga laughed, “They really do. It’s such fun to see them with smiles on their faces when they’re jumping off the dock!”


Interested in seeing if your pup has a future in the sport? Kunkle offers introductions and assessments at PAWS. A first-time assessment is $65. “After that, dock diving lessons are $45. And on Saturdays from 2-5 there is open dock diving practice, at $25 per dog, no appointment required.” 503-640-4007 www.pawsrehab.net

Diving events require registering with NADD – North American Diving Dogs - $35 for the life of the dog. Each competition has entry fees.

For information on registering your dog with NADD and finding an event, go to NorthAmericaDivingDogs.com.

Photo credit:  Amaya Frutkoff

Photo credit: Amaya Frutkoff

Photo credit: Landon Treanor

Photo credit: Landon Treanor

Roo Yori: The K9 Ninja Warrior

As a young student athlete, Andrew “Roo” Yori had Ninja-level skills both on and off the sports field. Soccer was his favorite high school sport, although he competed in others too. As a college athlete he held the long-jump record at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and still graduated as the outstanding male senior with a degree in Biology. Whatever he takes on, he puts his full self into the effort.

Today, 41-year-old Roo Yori holds an impressively brainy job in the genome sequencing laboratory at Minnesota’s famous Mayo Clinic. But, true to form, he’s matching brains with brawn as a multi-season competitor on TV’s American Ninja Warrior.

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To the uninitiated, the show looks like an otherworldly display of super-human strength and agility. To devotees of high-intensity workout programs like CrossFit – another of Yori’s passions – the show’s competitions are a natural extension of the barrier-busting workouts that have desk jockeys and dedicated athletes jumping, climbing, crawling, and balancing like caped superheroes.

Training for the competition would keep any superhuman fully occupied with workout schedules, travel, and qualifying heats. But Yori is making the most of the exposure, using the spotlight to promote his passion for rescue dogs. He uses each televised competition as a fundraiser, urging fans to pledge a donation for each punishing obstacle he completes.

Photo credit: Josh Feeney

Photo credit: Josh Feeney

Remarkable Rescues

In his 2017 rookie season on American Ninja Warrior, Roo and his cheering section sported matching “Adopt A Dog” t-shirts, as his rescued dog Angus watched from the crowd. The now-departed Angus – a stately black Labrador mix with a graying muzzle and dignified air – served as the representative for the pack of beloved rescue dogs who have called the Yori household home.

It started when he and his wife, Clara, went to adopt a dog from the shelter where she worked. Roo instantly fell for the stately Angus, but his wife, Clara, had her heart set on a dog named Ajax. “We weren’t going to change each other’s minds, so we adopted both,” he remembers. The couple even timed the two dogs’ arrivals in the home to create a harmonious transition. “Ajax was doing well at the shelter, and it was a nice shelter, so he stayed there for about 10 days. Angus came home and got used to the house, and then Ajax came.”

Ajax and Angus soon became best friends, but Roo and Clara have made room in their home and family for other rescues who don’t get along with their dog siblings. With dedication and an abundance of dog smarts, they manage to keep a peaceful and active household no matter what canine characters currently live there.

His most famous rescue is the inspiration behind Yori’s Wallace the Pit Bull Foundation, which has raised more than $100,000 to promote rescue and adoption while tackling breed-related stigma. Wallace was a white and brown Pit Bull who had been slated for euthanasia. Soon after the Yoris adopted him, the muscular and driven dog demonstrated an over-the-top love for catching Frisbees. Under the training and guidance of his athlete dad, Wallace ultimately won the 2006 Cynosport World Games and the 2007 Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge National Championship for flying disc. He also inspired author Jim Gorant to pen a best-selling book, “Wallace – the Underdog who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls – one Flying Disc at a Time.”

The champion dog eventually succumbed to an aggressive cancer, but his image and story still grace the logo of the foundation he inspired and the line of merchandise that raises money for the cause, including “pawtographed” copies of his best-selling book.

It’s a responsibility. He’s my responsibility,” says Yori. “I need to make sure I’m managing him and his situations...

Smarts and Heart

The famous overachieving Wallace never fully overcame some of his pre-rescue quirks. “People assumed he did well with my dogs at home,” Yori remembers. “He didn’t. We had to rotate and manage at home. But he had a great life. I’d take him out on a long line and work with him and the Frisbee. When he was playing, he was focused. Working with him in the evening, in a big field where you can turn on the flood lights, those are some of my best memories.”

The hard-to-place dog thrived in his adoptive home because his training and competition provided structure, outlet, and Wallace-centered quality time.

“It’s a responsibility. He’s my responsibility,” says Yori. “I need to make sure I’m managing him and his situations, so he doesn’t get into something he isn’t ready to handle. It was a lot of management. I hate to say I was a little relieved when he retired, but I got to relax a little more.”

One of Wallace’s canine siblings, Hector, also enjoyed fame and raised money to help other dogs. Hector was one of 51 Pit Bulls rescued from the Michael Vick dog fighting case. The baby-faced brown Pittie overcame his traumatic history to pass the Canine Good Citizen test – TWICE – and become a Certified Therapy Dog. Visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, Hector spent the rest of his life busting stereotypes and winning hearts.

As age and illness closed in on Hector, Yori hung a victorious sign around the dog, who stood gray-faced and peaceful on a picnic table, after seven years of happy life that seemed to have erased his memory of the two he’d spent in the violent world of dog fighting. The sign reads, “Vick, 2. Hector, 7. I win.”

Training for Success

The Yori dogs have since included a rescued Pitties, a three-legged Corgi, and an ever-growing cast of canines with sad histories and sweet dispositions. Nobody in the pack is training for competition like their predecessor Wallace, but Yori continues to find time to nurture each dog’s interests and abilities.

“It’s that quality time,” Yori says. More than accommodation for their disabilities or management for their temperament issues, the dogs need happy, structured play with their favorite humans.

Whether training for competition or just for fun, Yori looks for the games and activities that light up each dog’s disposition. He tries to give his highly driven dogs a playful challenge that approaches the edge of their abilities. Dogs with more physical limitations get less demanding workout sessions, focusing more on mental stimulation and quality bonding time.

“We do whatever the dog enjoys, as long as we remain safe.” The balanced approach keeps dogs injury-free, even while leaning hard into weight-pulling courses or impressive Frisbee acrobatics.

Without canine competitions on their calendar, the Yori dogs’ training time now focuses more on dog/human bonding. Still, they reap all the benefits of more intense training. “They learn self-control, and a tired dog is a good dog. It gives them an outlet and it gives you that time together. That’s exactly it. Those are some of the best memories, the best times.”

One of Roo’s current dogs is a round-faced brown Pittie who slightly resembles his predecessor, Hector. And, like Hector, Johnny is a dog-fighting survivor, with tattered and scarred ears that tell of his abusive past.

On a YouTube video created in his backyard, Yori recreates the American Ninja Warrior obstacle courses with a homemade dog agility course. In the video, a grinning and focused Johnny hops among wooden platforms, scurries under a cargo net, and scales a ramp. In an awesome display of drive and strength, Johnny climbs a platform to grab a knotted robe in his teeth, which he keeps clasped in his muscular jaws while the rope rolls down a trolley line. At the end of the course, Johnny stands victorious on top of the final obstacle and repeatedly pats a big red button with his paw, much like his human’s victorious finishes on the competitive TV show.

The agility video mimics a Ninja episode, down to the gravel-voiced play-by-play that Yori dubbed onto the video. “Aaand he does it! Just like that, Johnny hits the buzzer! To think back to where Johnny came from just a few years ago, found chained in a basement with nine other dogs, rescued, adopted, and now hitting his first buzzer on Canine Ninja Warrior!”

The muscular dog’s tail wags as he pats the red buzzer a few more times. The gravelly narration sums up the story of a Yori canine athlete. “Congratulations, Johnny. You earned it!”


https://www.youtube.com/user/rooyori

https://www.rooyori.com/


Michelle Blake, Managing Editor

For every creature there is care

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Here in Petlandia, our quirks and eccentricities include a love of unique pets. From beloved backyard chickens to ferrets, clown fish, bearded dragons — and dogs and cats — area veterinarians are prepared with the best medical care to keep our motley menageries in top shape. With everything from high tech to high touch, following are examples of the special creature care you’ll find.

Birds of a feather

Treating feathered friends is quite unlike treating dogs or cats. So, what to do when your African Gray Parrot or Henny Penny needs a doctor? Consider The Avian Medical Center in Lake Oswego. Treating all variety of farm fowl to exotics since 1984, services include routine and preventive care, diagnostics, surgery, pharmacy, and boarding. 

For the love of cats

When finicky felines need veterinary care, transporting them in a little box to a place that smells like DOGS . . . well, we all know how hard that can be.  

Never fear. That’s the approach of cat-centric clinics like The Cat Hospital of Portland in Sellwood-Moreland. This cats-only clinic is a fear-free practice designed with feline comforts in mind. Offering a full range of veterinary care, boarding and grooming services, staff say some kitties even find visits enjoyable. 

Oh, so exotic

Imagine a modern Doctor Doolittle who treats nearly any critter that swims, flies, or slithers. Yep, in Petlandia we’ve got that.

At Northwest Exotic Pet Vet in Beaverton, staff put education at the forefront of the patient relationship, making sure caregivers have the info and resources to provide the best possible care for their exotic pets. The clinic offers a full array of service, from routine care to surgery, microchipping, and medical boarding. 

Avian and Exotic Veterinary Care in Northeast Portland is home to the only two board-certified exotics specialist veterinarians in Oregon and SW Washington, meaning they meet extra education standards. The clinic welcomes birds, reptiles, amphibians, rodents, fish, primates, and exotic canine or felines, with services ranging from pharmacy and retail sales to boarding, diagnostic care, and drop-off services. 

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Southwest Animal Hospital in Beaverton rounds out our tour of the United Nations of pet care. This clinic, which accepts donations for research to advance exotic animal medicine, emphasizes education along with a full range of wellness, diagnostic, and surgical services. 

Care for Every Need

Pets need not be exotic to need specialized care, and our community has them covered too. From cardiology to dermatology, cancer care to dental services, we have an array of special-focus practices whose doctors work alongside primary-care vets to become part of a multi-discipline care team for your dear ones. You’ll find just a sampling of them here in our resource list.

Resources:

Bird care:

AvianExoticVetCare.com

TheAvianMedicalCenter.com

Cardiology:

HeartOregon.com  

Cat Care:

PortlandCats.com

Dental:

AnimalDentalClinicNW.com 

Dermatology & Allergy:

AnimalDermatologyPDX.com

Exotics Care:

AvianExoticVetCare.com

NorthwestExoticPetVet.com

SWAnimalHospital.net

Integrative:

IrvingtonVeterinary.com

PNWVisitingVet.com

TwoRiversVet.com  

Oncology and Surgery: 

VCSSpdx.com

Rehabilitation/Injury Management: 

Back on Track at BOTVRC.com


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A Portland native, Kennedy Morgan, has been around dogs her entire life - from the multitude of strays near the country home of her youth to the crew she calls her own now. Vegas, her retired agility superstar (Great Dane) has been her primary inspiration for all things dog in the last decade, including her passion for writing.  

Are favorite health foods good for dogs?

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Not necessarily, says Veterinarian Katy Nelson, who follows the latest trends as host and executive producer of a popular Washington, DC televised pet program. Set down the goji berry and kale smoothie and check out this doctorly advice:

-        Eat that whole avocado yourself — it’s not good for dogs. The fruit, stem, leaves, and seeds contain a compound called persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

-        Feel free, however, to share your turmeric and coconut oil. The mild-tasting, boldly-yellow spice revered for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and possibly ant-cancer properties might interact with other medications, so ask your vet first. Tumeric is good to pair with coconut oil, as it aids absorption of the healing properties. Dr. Nelson says it’s okay in small amounts or as a topical treatment for itchy, dry skin. Just don’t get excited over rumors that the oil can cure thyroid or other diseases in your dog. There’s scant evidence to support such claims.

-        Flax seed oil? Probably yes, says Dr. Nelson. There’s evidence that it’s good for dogs’ skin and joint health, but only your vet can say if it might be right for your pup.

-        Finally, while trustworthy studies are scarce, Nelson says her own pets and patients do well on hempseed oil for anxiety or arthritis pain, so it’s worth a conversation with your own vet.

New SE Vet - A ❤ for Comfort, Rescues

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Dr.  Valori  Johnson  knew her life’s calling from an early age. “The rest of my family were mathematicians and engineers,” she says, “but I was born with the animal bug, and made sure we always had a house full of pets.”

Her passion for animals led her right through veterinary college and into a specific vision for how she wanted to practice medicine. “Since veterinary school I have worked in large, busy practices,” she says. “I wanted to create a clinic with a calmer, friendlier atmosphere that was less stressful for our patients and clients.”

Johnson — Dr. Val to her friends and clients — fulfilled that dream in February when she opened Buckman Veterinary Clinic in SE Portland. Since then, she’s seen exactly the results she’d hoped for. “A number of the dogs and cats who had earned a reputation for being ‘spicy customers’ have been much easier to work with in our new space where they are not as stressed out,”  she says.

Johnson also had another goal when she opened her clinic. “I am hoping that the flexibility of having my own practice will allow me to expand the work I do with local animal animal rescues," she says. Johnson has worked closely with My Way Home Dog Rescue, a Sandy, OR nonprofit that places dogs from overcrowded shelters into forever families.

Cheryl Yoshioka, who runs My Way Home, helped Johnson get Buckman Clinic up and running. Now, the rescue’s dogs visit the new clinic for help with issues ranging from broken bones to autoimmune diseases and liver and kidney problems.

“Most all the dogs coming into rescue have suffered neglect,” Yoshioka says, “so their care is a priority for us. Our rescue does quite a few senior dogs, and after living a life of neglect they require special care. Dr. Val has provided that for us.”

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The work reaps rewards for the doctor as well as the patients. “There is nothing quite as nice,” Johson says, “as being able to help these animals that come in neglected and suffering get back on their feet and settled in new loving families.”

The doctor says says a career in primary vet care is “a complex puzzle” requiring a unique mix of medical knowledge, scrupulous study of the latest research, and a healthy dose of compassion. “I want our clinic to be filled with people who not only have the skills any veterinary staff member needs,” she explains, “but also have a passion for working with pets and the empathy to work with them gently.”

“So many times in my career,” Johnson says, “I have seen people handling pets in ways that are unnecessarily stressful to them. I am working to develop a culture where pets and their people are treated right as individuals with unique needs."

“When we succeed in this balance, and know we have helped a pet and his or her family, that is the best reward there is!”


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William Kennedy is a freelance writer who lives with his wife and daughter in downtown Eugene, Oregon. He's had many furry friends in his lifetime. Currently, he's tolerated by a black cat named Midnight.

Sink or Swim! Water Safety for Your Dog

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If you have a water-loving dog, you know there are few things more inviting than cool water on a warm day. There are risks such as overexertion and toxic algae, so it’s important to take precautions to help keep things fun and safe.

Don’t push a scared or reluctant swimmer — not all dogs are natural swimmers.

Take along: Ear cleaning/drying solution if your pup’s floppy ears are vulnerable to infection, a dog flotation vest, and knowledge of pet first aid.

Water-crazy dogs don’t automatically rest when they’re cold or tired. Watch for signs of fatigue, and get your dog on dry land for regular rest breaks.

Safe fencing to prevent unsupervised swims by pets or kids in pools and ponds.

Watch the waves. They can be deadly to tired or distracted swimmers.

Heed all warnings and advisories about toxic algae. Get help right away if you see signs of illness (lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea) as toxic algae poisoning can be fatal in under 24 hours. Check for affected areas at by searching "Algae Bloom Advisories" at oregon.gov.

That rule about swimming right after eating applies to dogs, too. Avoid any heavy physical activity for several hours after a meal. 

Faster. Closer Pet Care When Seconds Count

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Anyone with pets knows the Murphy’s Law of super-scary sudden illnesses and panic-inducing injuries: they happen on weekends and holidays, when our primary veterinary clinics are closed. When that happens, we all want to find a good doctor, fast. We want to know what’s happening, how serious it is, and how to fix it.

Now, no matter where you are in the greater Portland area, getting that kind of smart, fast care just got easier. In an emergency when every frantic minute counts, the trained ER and critical care staff at Cascade Veterinary Referral Center is always ready to help.

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The Portland area has several emergency veterinary hospitals, some with quick care equivalent to human urgent care clinics, and others with the specialized care and equipment of human ERs. At CVRC, you’ll find skilled ER docs with veterinary technicians and support staff all assigned to their areas of specialty, such as internal medicine and orthopedics. And they have access to diagnostics ranging from digital x-rays and ultrasound to CT scans.

“It’s pretty exciting,” says CVRC Hospital Manager Traci Delos. “There are other choices, but hands down I think we have the best location: minutes off the I-5 freeway, no side streets, and easily accessible from 205 south and 217. From wherever you are in Portland it’s easy to get to us. That’s important when minutes count.

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The hospital’s move to emergency service is largely in response to the primary care vets who send patients to CVRC for specialized care.  'Our referring doctors definitely asked for this service,” Delos says. Full staffing means round-the-clock seamless care for the most vulnerable patients.

It’s also the realization of a longtime dream of CVRC’s founder, surgical specialist Dr. Richard Howard. He envisioned emergency care when he opened the hospital a dozen years ago. Every detail from building design to staffing decisions followed this vision. “We got really lucky with our clinician staff, ” Delos beams, “all are highly experienced with eight or more years in ER and critical care.”

While such expertise promises better outcomes for sick and injured animals, it’s also a balm for jangled, frightened humans. “Our clinic is designed around the client,” says Delos. “Sometimes they don’t know why they’re here or what will happen.” Staff members try to help with little touches like knowing the pet’s name before they arrive, and never interrupting a conversation to answer the phone: calls are answered in a side office to allow front-office staff to focus on the humans and animals present.

With other touches like same-day appointments, 24-hour access to staff, and photo updates on a pet’s condition, Delos says, “We’re also a newer ER clinic, so our wait-times are shorter, and we can get you back to your day pretty quickly.”

Adding caring human touches to state-of-the-art care, at CVRC they like to say, “We’re trusted for our care and chosen for our experience.”


The February/March 2018 issue of Spot is brought to you by:

Cascade Veterinary Referral Center * 11140 SW 68th Pkwy, Tigard, OR * 503-684-1800 * CascadeVRC.com

Smile!

Happy Mouth = Happy Pets! 

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As a Certified Vet Tech, I know better than to wait a full year before getting a dental cleaning. While working at a clinic I was on the frontline of identifying early stage dental disease. So why did I wait so long? I was lazy. When I finally went for my cleaning I had eight cavities. I almost screamed when the dentist shared this news.

Regular cleanings are just as important for your animals. While you may not be talking about cavities during your pet’s annual wellness exam, you will be discussing periodontal disease, the risk of fractured teeth, and what to expect from your animal’s dental cleaning. Being proactive with oral health should be a priority for all pet parents.

The most common disease in pets is periodontal disease, which can lead to infections that introduce bacteria into other parts of the body. Simply put, bad teeth can lead to a very sick animal. Research shows that inflammation in any part of the body can have a serious negative impact on your pet’s internal organs. 

While oral exams are conducted during all routine visits, we as pet parents are their first line of defense. Signs of problems may include pawing at the mouth, dropping food, aggression when touched on or around the face, and/or disinterest in the food bowl. Any of these symptoms warrant a visit to the Vet. It’s important to remember that animals are stoic, so it’s up to us to recognize even small indicators that may signal dental disease.

What to expect with routine dental exams and cleaning

It begins with a comprehensive oral examination to evaluate structures of the face, head and neck. Then intraoral structures are examined, including teeth and soft tissues.

Dental cleaning

Dental cleaning

Scaling and polishing are the most common dental cleaning procedures. Dental radiology (x-ray) is also extremely important, as disease can easily be missed without examining beneath the gum margin. The gum margin is the border of the gingiva surrounding, but unattached to, the substance of the teeth.  

Speaking with the experts at the Animal Dental Clinic NW (ADCNW), a dental specialty clinic in Lake Oswego, reinforced what I was taught about oral health in Vet Tech School. It also made me appreciate how very lucky we are to have outstanding expertise throughout this community.

“You care most about what’s happening under the gum-line where hidden infection and pain resides,” explains Dr. Jean Batigg, DVM, DAVDC of ADCNW. “But without x-rays you cannot see what’s most important.” Pets must be sedated to obtain quality radiographs.

The goal is to avoid pets from having to live years and years in oral pain, according to Dr. Jacqueline Myers DVM of Forever Pet Dental. "Most dogs and cats require at least annual dental cleanings to maintain good oral health. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends dental cleanings annually after one year of age for cats and small dogs, or two years of age for large dogs,” Myers says. “To be effective, this must be done under general anesthesia in a veterinary setting, and must include dental x-rays.”  

Board Certified Veterinary Dentists offer specialty services in complex cases involving dental disease or injury. In many cases, Veterinarians in general practices refer cases to specialists when, for example, the dog or cat is at a higher anesthesia risk. Some general practitioners have Vet Techs with dentistry certification on staff as well.

With that in mind, world-class animal dentistry/oral surgery is performed every day at ADCNW, whose number-one priority, according to Batigg, is oral health. Also a top concern is anesthesia safety; many ADCNW patients are over eight years old. “There are a lot of options,” says Batigg, adding that “95 percent of cases can have anesthesia.”  

At many general practice clinics throughout Portland, two board certified Veterinary Anesthesiologists, Dr. Heidi Shafford and Dr. Lynnelle Graham, monitor patients with medical risks including diabetes and anxiety. Age is also a consideration, and both doctors are experts in providing anesthesia care for older pets. They both partner with clinics and offer their services so at risk patients can be safely operated on — and this goes beyond dental surgery. 

Signs of periodontal disease

Disease left untreated in your pet’s mouth causes continuing unnecessary pain. If you see any of these common symptoms of dental problems, see your Veterinarian as soon as possible:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Increased drooling
  • Dropping food from the mouth
  • Whining while eating
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Loose or discolored teeth
  • Bleeding from the mouth

Preventing dental disease

Periodontal disease is difficult to control once it has developed. The good news is, it is preventable with a combination of home dental care and annual veterinary care. 

Daily brushing is necessary to minimize calculus formation. Reduction of bacteria in the mouth can be accomplished through not only brushing, but diet, chews, and toys designed to support oral health.

Water additives with the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of acceptance also support a pet’s preventive oral healthcare routine.

Start early! Before introducing a toothbrush, massage your puppy’s or kitten’s gums to accustom them to having their mouth manipulated. “You must train your puppy to open its mouth so you can safely check his teeth,” says Batigg.

Pets prone to dental problems

Some breeds are more susceptible to dental problems than others. The smaller the breed, the greater chance of periodontal disease. Because the teeth are closer together, plaque and tartar builds up in the space in between.  

Additionally, smaller breeds tend to live longer, giving periodontal disease more time to progress.  

[What] to chew or not to chew

An educational drawer at The Animal Dental Clinic NW

An educational drawer at The Animal Dental Clinic NW

Unfortunately, I know from experience that excessively hard chew toys like antlers are a common cause of broken teeth in dogs. This is extremely painful, and can sometimes become abscessed. I recently learned this with my dog, Walter, as he had a pre-molar extracted as a result of chewing aggressively on an antler.

According to the veterinary experts with VetzInsight, “Watch a dog with a bone and you will see he grabs it with both front paws and munches on it on the side of his teeth. Human teeth chew straight up and down, but animals chew in the back where the teeth are made to shear food into little pieces; like scissors, they go past each other. When dogs do that and crunch down on something too hard at just the right angle, a piece of the upper fourth premolar breaks off, leaving a slab. Now the teeth slide over each other like pinking shears.”  

Dos

·        Flexibility is a must!

·        Consider brands made with potato starch, which can be hydrated when they dry out (TIP: moisturize toys with a slice of bread in a food storage container)

·        Be present and aware whenever your pet is enjoying chews

Don’ts

Offer chews that cannot be ingested, which can cause a GI obstruction. Use products that can fracture a dog’s tooth, including:

·        Nylabones

·        Yaks

·        Rocks

·        Hooves, horns and antlers

Your pet will thank you for a healthy mouth! For dogs and cats to stop eating they must be in terrible pain. Schedule an annual exam now, and if you suspect discomfort or any of the symptoms mentioned above, get your pet seen right away.

And start brushing their teeth!


Anesthetic-free dentistry (AFD)

Experts in pet dentistry are very clear about Anesthesia Free Dentistry or No Anesthesia Dentistry (NAD). The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) simply states that an oral exam and x-rays cannot be done on an awake pet, stating: “A thorough oral health exam can’t be done on a dog or cat that is awake. During a thorough oral health exam, all surfaces of your pet’s mouth are evaluated and radiographs are taken. This allows a veterinarian to identify painful problems including broken teeth, periodontal disease or even oral tumors.”


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As a Certified Vet Tech, longtime PR veteran and content marketing expert, Christy Caplan brings her unique understanding of social and digital media to connect dog lovers to brands both on and offline. She lives with three hounds – two Doxies and a Beagle/Basset Hound mix,
who constantly teach her about life and companionship. Follow Christy at mylifewithdogspdx.com.