Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November Team Member of the Month- Ani!!

What don’t we love about Ani? That should be the question! This month’s Team Member of the Month is a quiet star. As with so many of our team members, Ani has taken on tasks that have reinvented her job title many times. Beginning her HAH experience as a kennel attendant, she has been a doctor’s technician, a surgical technician and a member of the two (wo)man team that runs our Canine Blood Bank. 

Ani takes pride in all her responsibilities. She can be counted on to complete any task. She is truly committed to the HAH and to our animal community. 

This year, you may say that Ani has seen her share of bad luck. However,  it has never bested her.  This month we would like to Thank! Ani for her commitment to the HAH and name her  November’s Team Member of the Month.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top 5 Thanksgiving Treats

As you gather around the table this Thanksgiving and give thanks for good food, good friends and even your cranky family members, don’t forget the furry or feathery member of the family — your pet. Of course, a pet doesn’t need a toast in its honor to feel appreciated, but a special treat would probably elicit an extra lick or cuddle from your best four-legged friend. Just remember that the holidays aren’t an excuse to break from tradition and serve your pet chocolate or other foods that might upset its sensitive stomach. However, there are some terrific Thanksgiving treats that are perfectly pet-safe and guaranteed to make your critter feel extra-thankful for such a thoughtful pet parent. Here are just five.

1: Toys

If your pet is on a restricted diet or doesn’t usually handle new food well, pick out a toy that your animal will go gaga for. Consider a squeaky toy shaped like a turkey bone or a carrot. Some retailers carry “pampered pet” lines, in which you’ll find toys shaped like wine bottles or sushi (if turkey and all the fixings isn’t your thing). McCulley recommends interactive toys that dispense treats as a great way to keep your pet occupied while you’re entertaining human guests. By the time your furry friend has gotten all of the kibble out of the toy, you’ll be cleaning off the table and ready to spend the afternoon curled up in a turkey-induced coma with your pet.
Some one-on-one time like this is probably the best treat of all for your pet, but any of these five ideas can also help make sure your pet is a grateful gobbler this Thanksgiving.

2: Biscuits and Other Treats

If you aren’t up for making your own treats or don’t have any leftovers, you can find a large variety of treats available at pet superstores or even your local market that will leave your pet feeling gracious. McCulley says ingredients like pomegranate, acai berry and quinoa, which have been fads in people food for the past few years, are now crossing over into pet treats. Look for items that are made with human-grade ingredients to ensure your furry friend is getting the very best. Many organic treats are made with natural ingredients such as pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple with ginger or cinnamon for a fun Thanksgiving twist.


If you like a traditional feast with a big turkey as the main dish, your pet is in luck. There are quite a few ways you can prepare some of your leftover turkey that will be paw-licking good. Be sure to remove any skin and bones and don’t serve your pet any turkey that’s been sitting out longer than two hours to avoid risk of salmonella poisoning. Skinless, boneless turkey is a great treat for most cats and dogs. Cut up a few pieces and add it to your dog’s regular food to give it its own Thanksgiving meal. For cats, try pureeing turkey with sweet potatoes or pumpkin and adding it to their regular food or letting them lick it straight from the spoon. And if you’ve ever wondered what to do with turkey giblets, try boiling them up for a yummy pet treat.

4: Bones and Chews

It might be tempting to toss a turkey bone your dog’s way during the holiday, but according to L.A. Animal Services, turkey bones can easily break, and the sharp splinters could cause damage to your dog’s intestines. If your pooch goes nuts for bones, look for store-bought bones or chews in special Thanksgiving flavors that will be a real treat without the risk. Pet trend expert Janet McCulley recommends turkey-flavored bones, or even organic dog chews made out of sweet potatoes or apples. Make no bones about it, you will be thankful your canine has a yummy Thanksgiving treat without the threat of a visit to the emergency animal hospital.

5: Fruits and Veggies

Not all pets can eat meat, including most pocket pets like gerbils, hamsters, rats and birds. Many people love these small pets, but often overlook them when it comes to holiday treats. Pocket pets can have small treats occasionally, but according to the educational staff at Drs. Foster and Smith, they tend to like treats better than real food, so it’s best to dish them out sparingly. In general, raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli are OK to give a small rodent, so when you’re preparing your Thanksgiving meal, save a few pieces for your pet. Pet birds also love fresh veggies and fruits, including cooked sweet potatoes and cranberries, which are both common staples on many Thanksgiving tables. Cooked vegetables like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and peas are terrific options for cats and dogs, too.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Novemeber Patient of the Month- "Pippa"

Pippa, a three year old Scotty has been a HAH client for several years. Last July, after her owners came home from a short trip they found Pippa vomiting. They immediately brought her to the HAH were an evaluation was done and a variety of therapies were discussed.

Pippa’s symptoms were treated and she went home with strict monitoring instructions for continued vomiting. After a day at home the vomiting persisted so she was brought back to the HAH for x-rays and bloodwork. X-rays revealed that Pippa indeed had ingested a foreign object and surgical intervention was required.

Dr. Heim took her to surgery that day with the assistance of Dr. Sessa. During surgery, a portion of a rubber ball was found stuck in her intestines. There was extensive damage to the duodenum (portion of the intestines just beyond the stomach).  Because of the multiple important structures in this area, removing the damaged tissue was not a possibility and a patch was made using other areas of her intestine. The goal of this patch –a serosal patch- was to assist in the regeneration of the damaged intestinal tissue.

Sometimes referred to as a surgical parachute, this patch ultimately results in full regeneration of damaged intestinal tissue. However, this is not a guaranteed solution. Healing of this kind usually takes 2 weeks. Because the compromised tissue was left in Pippa’s body, the chance for complications was increased. Recovery would be a race with time to see what would grow faster, the infection or the healthy tissue.

 Pippa was armed with all she needed to sustain this fight.  For the next two weeks her doctors updated treatments and test every day to battle each change in her symptoms. After transfusions, blood tests and intensive monitoring, Pippa did recover.

Now, several months later, Pippa is home and very happy. Her parents are pleased to have their love back to normal and grateful to be able to share her story with us. Pippa was a trooper and we are pleased to showcase her as our November Patient of the Month.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Belly rubs!!!!

 It’s called the sweet spot. That perfect place on your dog’s belly or sides that, when scratched, causes your pet’s foot to go into crazy automatic kicking mode. Every dog owner knows where to find this magical region on his or her canine, as it usually offers up unmitigated joy.
As delightful as this puppy kicking is to watch, this reaction is actually a means of self-protection for your pet. It’s called the scratch reflex, and it’s an involuntary response that exists to keep your dog safe from dangerous bugs or irritants.

Underneath certain portions of your dog’s skin, there are collections of neural pathways that are connected to the spinal cord. When these nerves are activated – either by a scratch or a tickle – they quickly send messages to the spinal cord, which then instructs the dog’s leg to kick. For some dogs, the kicking can be more pronounced depending on how much scratching they feel.

“Dogs that have allergies in particular, it tends to be really easy to illicit that scratch reflex, because the dogs are borderline itchy anyway,” says Lore Haug, a veterinarian and animal behavior expert for Texas Veterinary Behavior Services. “But when you rub their skin more, it accentuates the scratching.”

According to Haug, the scratch reflex came about as a way for animals to protect themselves against irritants on their bodies, especially invading bugs that could carry diseases. For example, if a dog has fleas running around on its skin, the insects’ itchiness will cause the scratch reflex to activate. Then, perhaps the kicking will knock some of the fleas off, alleviating the source of the itch.

It’s similar to the reflexes seen in humans, which usually exist to protect us in some way. “Let’s say you touch a hot stove, and before your brain recognizes it’s painful, the spinal cord recognizes the pain, and you involuntarily jerk your hand back,” Haug says. “If you had to wait until your conscious brain recognized something was in danger, your delay in reaction time could cause an injury or even death in some cases.”

The scratch reflex can be useful for your veterinarian to determine if your pet is suffering from any nerve damage, kind of like when your doctor tests your knee reflexes during checkups. Also, since the reflex is more for swatting away pesky bugs, it doesn’t necessarily mean your dog likes being scratched in that particular area. But of course, some dogs do enjoy a good rub on the belly. You’ll just have to pick up on cues from your pet to figure that out.