Monthly Archives: June 2012

Parasites Part 2: Heartworms

By: Dr Laura Leautier 

We are also fortunate to have a fairly low incidence of heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.  But since heartworms (which are spaghetti-sized worms that live in the heart) are life-threatening, we recommend all dogs be on a monthly preventative.  Tasty Heartgard Plus chewables are easy to give, very safe, and have added protection against roundworms and hookworms.  Once again, because of our lack of humidity, hookworms are quite uncommon here, but roundworms are another matter.  Most puppies and kittens are born with them (they get them from their mother), so we routinely deworm puppies and kittens when they come in for their first exam and vaccines.  Dogs also pick them up from fecal-contaminated environments where other dogs and raccoons eliminate.  Roundworms can also be a serious problem in children, so we recommend Heartgard Plus even if you never see mosquitoes.

If you have an Iphone or an Android phone, Heartgard also makes an app! You can set monthly reminders of when it’s time to give your pet their Heartgard Plus! Also during 2012 Heartgard is offering a rebate special called 12.12.12. If you buy a 12 pack of Heartgard Plus, during the year of 2012, you will receive a rebate check for $12 (vs the normal $5).

Bella’s Speedy Recovery Thanks to Laser Therapy.


Bella is a very happy 4 1/2-year-old boxer that had to move from the mid-West right after having surgery for a Mast Cell Tumor.
With Mast Cell Tumors you must make a very wide cut to insure getting good margins and leaving no cancer cells behind. Bella’s incision was a nice wide cut insuring nothing was left, but unfortunately the incision site dehisced or did hold the sutures. When she came to us there was not enough tissue available to close the site back surgically, so we elected to use Laser therapy, bandaging and allow it to granulate in.
Normally this would not be considered with a tumor removal, but with the grade of the tumor and the margins achieved, it was determined that it would be safe to Laser the site and speed healing.
Bella’s owners were incredibly dedicated to her care, bringing her in for regular treatments three times a week and doing regular bandage changes at home.
Bella is an angel and we are all so happy with her outcome, but miss seeing her smiling face on a regular basis.

Written By: Christina Johnson, LVT                                  

Dr. Ben Davidson

Dr. Ben Davidson grew up in the San Diego area, but always escaped to the mountains for vacation, so ending up here was a foregone conclusion. He earned his bachelors and veterinary degree from UC Davis. After finishing he completed an internship in emergency/ critical care, medicine and neurology at Washington State University. His professional interests include emergency/  critical care and internal medicine. Dr. Davidson became a partner in the practice in 2011.

Parasites Part 1: Tick Tock

Parasites in Northern Nevada Part One

By: Laura Leautier

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Here in Northern Nevada, we’re really lucky to have relatively few parasites that can affect our pets.  Because of our low humidity and high elevation, fleas and ticks are rarities.  When a pet comes in with fleas or ticks, we usually find out they’ve traveled out of the area.  So when you travel to lower elevations and areas with more 

humidity, be sure to apply a 30-day acting flea and tick spot-on, such as Revolution or ParaStar Plus, about 24 hours before you go.  These products are safe around children, and your dog can even be bathed or go swimming without needing to reapply them.

It’s Getting Hot in Here!

The Reality Of The Temperature Inside a Car  

By: Cora and Lauren

 As summer temperatures heat up, so do the risks of heat stroke in your pet. Many of us want to include our dogs in our summer activities, but what we don’t realize is a couple minutes in a car while we run into the store can be like sitting in an oven for our pets. Take a look at some interesting fact we found below.  

1.It might only be 82° degrees outside, but did you know that the inside of an enclosed car whether in the shade or the direct sun the temperature can reach up to 109°!

2. What if I crack open the windows??? If it’s 84° it still gets up to 98°.

  1. If its a 100° in a closed car it’s a 117° inside, if the windows are cracked its still a 114°.
  2. Heat stroke does not occur at a certain temperature. It happens when the dog’s body can no longer regulate it’s normal functions and as a result it’s temperature starts to rise.
  3. If a pet is locked in a car and the Police, Animal Services, or a concerned citizen rescues the pet,  the fines start at $100.
  4. If a pet is locked in a car and requires veterinary care, Animal Services can cite you under NRS with fines leading up to $630.

All in all the summer is an amazing season full of fun things to do with the whole family. Just be sure to plan ahead if your pet is going along, and to always bring fresh water. If you see a dog inside a car do not hesitate to call Animal Services @ 353-8900.

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Snakes, snakes and more snakes!



 By : Bob Baker

It is rattlesnake season here in Northern Nevada.  Rattlesnake bites are painful, and can be deadly.  There are a few factors that influence the severity of the bite.

1)  Snake Factors

  1. a.   Younger snakes will generally inject more venom.
  2. b.   Single defensive bites are often dry, meaning very little venom injected.
  3. c.    Second and multiple bites will often infuse venom.

2)  Patient Factors

  1. a.   Small dogs and cats are relatively more affected, venom dose per pound.
  2. b.   Location, facial strikes are most common, bites over the chest can be very dangerous.
  3. c.    Curious, rambunctious dog is at higher risk.



1)  Avoid locations where snakes are more likely to be found…rocky areas, water, prey…if there is prey around there are likely snakes.

2)  Avoindance training…probably the BEST preventative option you can take.  Most bites occur with a curious dog investigating the snake.  Accidental stepped on defensive bites still occur.

3)  Vaccine.  There is a vaccine for the rattlesnake toxin, unfortunately there have been NONE (0), NO clinical studies supporting it’s use or substantiating if is of benefit to use in any particular patient.  There are however, a relatively high number of side effects from the rattlesnake vaccine…mostly skin inflammation, necrosis, abscess formation at the site of the injection.


All rattlesnake bite victims need to be seen by a veterinarian, regardless of previous vaccination or state of illness.  Do not apply a tourniquet, cut into the bite, try to suck the venom out…(yes it has been recommended), or give any medication unless directed to do so by a veterinarian.

Once in the hospital, patients are evaluated for severe reactions to the venom.  Treatment includes intravenous fluid therapy to support blood pressure, pain medications, and usually antibiotics.  Antivenin is controversial, there is some research that demonstrated that antivenin did nothing to improve outcome, while others support it use in lessening swelling and pain associated with the bite.  Antivenin is VERY expensive, so it’s use may be dictated by financial constraints as well as medical indications.


Most snake bite victims do quite well, it is rare to see snake bite victims die…but it does happen.  There is generally no long term issues associated with rattlesnake bites.  Once a patient survives the initial wound, the long term prognosis is excellent.