Mountain lions, and cattle, and skunks, oh my! These are some of the species in this area that have recently been confirmed to be infected with rabies. We all know we are required to vaccinate our dogs, cats and ferrets against rabies, but we see the disease so infrequently in this part of the country that we probably don’t give it much thought otherwise.

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“Your pet has ringworm.” Those are words that conjure images of grimy living conditions, sores and patches of hair loss springing up on everyone within a 200 mile radius of the affected animal. The most upsetting part of the diagnosis is that ringworm is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be spread from animals to people. Fortunately, the reality of ringworm is not quite as dramatic as what is generally imagined.

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Salmonella has been in the news a lot lately. Massive numbers of eggs and pet foods have been the most recent subjects of food safety recalls, but there is almost no limit to the food products that are at risk of salmonella contamination. Better detection and reporting may make it seem that more foodstuffs are becoming contaminated, but it is likely that we have about the same amount of salmonella contamination in our food products as we always have had, we are just catching it more often.

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Sample Collection and Submission

A while ago we received a very unusual piece of mail at the clinic. Apparently someone’s dog had developed gastrointestinal distress and they decided that the most logical way to get to the bottom of the problem was to spoon a few generous dollops of diarrhea into a business sized envelope and enclose a note explaining who the patient was and, in case it wasn’t fairly obvious from the sample, a brief description of the problem. As we considered this sample submission, oozing through the pores of the paper, one of our receptionists brought up the most disturbing aspect entire situation--someone had needed to lick that envelope to seal it before dropping it off in the mailbox.

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Witnessing a seizure in your pet can be a very scary thing. Just a moment ago your dog was nosing around the back yard, and then suddenly he is lying on his side, jerking and twitching for what seems like an eternity. What do you do?   Sometimes people worry about their pet injuring itself or swallowing its tongue. Fortunately is not physically possible to swallow a tongue, and I have never actually seen an animal that has injured itself during a seizure. Keep in mind that during a seizure the muscle contractions in your pet’s jaw are powerful enough to amputate any fingers you might decide to poke in his mouth in order to protect his tongue. If your dog bites his tongue it will heal just fine. If he bites off your fingers they will probably never work quite the same even if they can be reattached. Resist the urge to hold or comfort your pet and just wait for the seizure to end.

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