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The Facts About The Dog Flu

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Hello all of my faithful readers!

I’ve heard some people talking about a flu that dogs can get, so I wanted to learn all about it since I come to work with my dad (Dr. Morse) every day. I have sniffed out all of the facts and want share them with you!

What is Canine Influenza (“The Dog Flu”)?

It is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs. No human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported. There are two different influenza A dog flu viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus.

Where did canine influenza viruses come from and how long has it been around?

Canine influenza H3N8 virus originated in horses, has spread to dogs, and can now spread between dogs. The H3N8 equine influenza (horse flu) virus has been known to exist in horses for more than 40 years. In 2004, however, cases of an unknown respiratory illness in dogs (initially greyhounds) were reported in the United States. An investigation showed that this respiratory illness was caused by the equine influenza A H3N8 virus. Scientists believe this virus jumped species (from horses to dogs) and has adapted to cause illness in dogs and spread among dogs, especially those housed in kennels and shelters. This is now considered a dog-specific H3N8 virus. In September 2005, this virus was identified by experts as a “newly emerging pathogen in the dog population” in the United States.

The H3N2 canine influenza virus is an avian flu virus that adapted to infect dogs. This virus is different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. Canine influenza A H3N2 virus was first detected in dogs in South Korea in 2007. This virus seems to have been an avian influenza virus that adapted to infect dogs and has since been reported in China and Thailand. H3N2 canine influenza has reportedly infected some cats as well as dogs. It was first detected in the United States in April 2015. The canine H3N2 virus is genetically different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. It is not known how canine H3N2 virus was introduced into the United States.  This is the strain that they have seen in Chicago and now there has been 1 reported case in Texas. (This dog moved to Houston from the Chicago area)

What are signs of canine influenza infection in dogs?

The signs of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose, and fever, but not all dogs will show signs of illness. The severity of illness associated with canine flu in dogs can range from no signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death.

How serious is canine influenza infection in dogs?

The percentage of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small. Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no signs of illness), while some have severe infections. Severe illness is characterized by the onset of pneumonia. This is a relatively new cause of disease in dogs and nearly all dogs are susceptible to infection.

How is canine influenza spread?

Almost all dogs are susceptible to canine flu infection, and illness tends to spread among dogs housed in kennels and shelters. Canine flu can spread to other dogs by direct contact with aerosolized respiratory secretions (coughing and sneezing) from infected dogs, by uninfected dogs coming into contact with contaminated objects, and by moving contaminated objects or materials between infected and uninfected dogs. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not expose their dog to other dogs. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.

Is there a test for canine influenza?

Testing to confirm canine influenza virus infection in dogs is available. Your veterinarian can tell you if testing is appropriate.

How is canine influenza infection in dogs treated?

Treatment largely consists of supportive care. This helps the dog mount an immune response. In the milder form of the disease, this care may include medication to make your dog more comfortable and fluids to ensure that your dog remains well-hydrated. Broad spectrum antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected.

Is there a vaccine for canine influenza?

There is an approved vaccine to protect dogs against canine influenza A H3N8 available in the United States. It is unknown at this time whether this vaccine will protect against the H3N2 canine flu virus, but there is research being done to see if there is some cross-over protection for the H3N2 strain when your dog is vaccinated for the H3N8 strain.

We do carry the vaccine for the H3N8 vaccine at Cornerstone Animal Clinic and include this as a required vaccine for all of our boarding & daycare patients.  It requires an initial vaccine followed by a booster in 2-4 weeks. The vaccine is repeated annually after this.  I can speak from experience when I say they were so gentle when I received my vaccines, that I didn’t even feel them!

My dog has a cough. What should I do?

Call the awesome staff at Cornerstone Animal Clinic and they will get your dog scheduled to see one of our doctors for a comprehensive physical exam.

Questions?

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to call the nice people up at Cornerstone Animal Clinic at 972-385-3555 or shoot them an email at info@cornerstoneanimalclinic.com and they will be happy to answer them for you!

April 25th–World Veterinary Day

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Whether you’re a cat person, a dog person, a rabbit person or a horse person, there’s one thing we can all agree on, and that’s the fantastic work carried out by veterinarians like my dad and his co-workers up here at Cornerstone Animal Clinic, Dr. Morse, Dr. Escobedo, Dr. Castro, & Dr. Conner!  Celebrate with your pet on World Veterinary Day by buying them a treat or a new toy or by writing them a note to show them how much they mean to you and that you appreciate the work they do to keep your pets healthy.

Don’t tell him, but I’m making my dad a big ol’ mud pie in the backyard to show my appreciation & love for him!  (Hopefully we can both jump in it and roll around and get all smelly)!

World Veterinary Day was created in 2000 by the World Veterinary Association to highlight and promote the lifesaving work performed by veterinarians around the globe.  Each year, a different theme is chosen which helps pet owners to remember the importance of various aspects of animal care, and how veterinarians can help, for example ensuring your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.

On this special day, why not raise a paw, hoof, or claw to say thank you to all of our awesome veterinarians?

Canine Oral Papillomas

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Your parents probably warned you that kissing a stranger was like kissing everyone that person kissed. Well, they were right and the same advice applies to your dog! Yes, we know they all love one another and as much as we try to keep a clean and healthy environment, there is still a possibility for transmission.

What is canine papilloma virus?

Canine oral papillomas, also known as oral warts, are small benign tumors of the mouth caused by the canine papilloma virus.  They are found on the lips, gums, mouth, and rarely can also be located on other mucous membranes.

Causes of papilloma virus in dogs:

Canine oral papillomas usually affect young dogs, under the age of 2.  Young dogs are more susceptible to the papilloma virus because their immune system is not fully developed.  As their immune system matures, they produce antibodies against the virus and the warts can eventually disappear.  Affected dogs can transmit the virus to other dogs through direct contact.  This usually occurs when they greet each other, share toys, eat or drink out of the same food or water bowl.  Canine papilloma virus is species-specific and therefore cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans or cats.

Symptoms of papilloma virus in dogs:

Papillomas typically develop on the lips, tongue, throat, or gums.  They are round and have an irregular surface, reminiscent of cauliflower or a sea anemone, and usually grow in clusters.  Most dogs are asymptomatic unless the papillomas become infected.  Infected oral papillomas can cause pain, swelling, and bad breath.

  Diagnosis of papilloma virus in dogs:

It is always a good idea to bring your dog to your veterinarian if you ever notice any lump or bump, regardless of its location.  Your veterinarian can usually diagnose canine papilloma by their characteristic appearance.  Since oral papillomas can occasionally become malignant (cancerous) and other types of cancers can grow in the mouth, your veterinarian may obtain a biopsy of the lesion to establish the diagnosis.  Likewise, your veterinarian will examine your dog’s mouth to determine if the papillomas are infected and antibiotics are needed.

Treatment of papilloma virus in dogs:

Most importantly,  if your dog has been diagnosed with papilloma virus, you will need to keep them isolated from other dogs to avoid transmission. Since canine oral papillomas are usually asymptomatic, treatment is often not indicated unless they become infected or become symptomatic. Infected papillomas can be painful and require a course of antibiotics.  Occasionally, a dog will have so many growths that eating becomes problematic.  When this occurs, the papillomas may need to be removed surgically.

If your dog goes to daycare, or plays with other dogs at the dog park or on walks, please routinely check inside their mouths to make sure they have not developed canine papilloma virus.  If you suspect that they might have it, please call us at 972-385-3555 to schedule an appointment with the doctor so they can examine your furry family member!

HAVE A PAWSOME DAY!
Bernie

Bernie Morse

No Scaredy-Cats Allowed!

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This year I have been bugging my dad (Dr. Morse) to take me trick-or-treating!!! I think I might dress up as a Veterinarian! Ha! Unfortunately he has been telling me that it might not be the best idea for me to go out that night. Halloween can be a festive and fun time for families and their 2-legged kids, but for pets? Let’s face it, it can be a downright nightmare. Forgo the stress and dangers for you and your pet this year by following these 10 easy steps:

1. Trick-or-treat candies are not for your pets.

ALL forms of chocolate–especially baking or dark chocolate–can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and even seizures. Halloween candies or gum containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also be poisonous to your dog. Even a small amount of Xylitol can cause a sudden drop and in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. It can even cause liver failure or death. If your pet consumes any candy, call us immediately, as some toxicity can begin in as little as 10 minutes after ingestion.

2. Don’t leave your pets outside on Halloween.

Unfortunately vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. This is inexcusable, but preventable nonetheless.

3. Keep your pets confined and away from your front door.

Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for candy. This, of course, is very scary for our furry friends. Dogs are especially territorial and may become anxious and growl at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from darting outside into the night…a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.

4. Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween.

Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not even adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.

5. Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach of your pets.

Although they are relatively nontoxic, such plants can induce gastrointestinal upset if they are ingested in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can even occur if large pieces are swallowed.

6. Don’t keep lit pumpkins around your pets.

Should your furry family member get to close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.

7. Keep wires and electric light cords out of reach.

If chewed, your pet could cut themself on shards of glass or plastic, or possibly receive a life-threatening electrical shock.

8. Don’t dress up your pet in a costume unless you know they will love it.

If you do decide that Fido or Kitty need a costume, make sure it isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe, bark, or meow.

9. Do a trial run of the pet costumes before the big night.

If your pet seems distressed, allergic, or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting them go in their “birthday suit”. Festive bandanas usually work for party poopers too.

10. IDs please!

If your pet should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be reunited with your family. Make sure the information is up-to-date, even if your pet does have one of those fancy-schmancy microchips!

I hope you all have a fun and safe Howl-O-Ween!!

Bernie Morse, Official Howl-O-Ween Treat Inspector

Bernie Morse, Official Howl-O-Ween Treat Inspector

Bernie and HIS Baby Kitten

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One of our technicians, Krystal found a newborn kitten while she was walking her dog (her dog nearly stepped on it!). There was no mom in sight and no other kittens, so she brought her with her to the clinic so the doctors could check her out. Our team has stepped up and taken turns taking the adorable kitten home to bottle feed her and give her the round-the-clock care she needs at this young age.

I heard her cries and rushed up to the front to see what was going on. I loved her at first sight and want to make sure she is taken care of at all times so I have planted myself next to where she is kept when she’s at the clinic. The staff have even nicknamed her “Bernadette” in honor of me.

“Bernadette” is doing great and eating well. Her eyes opened up this week, so now she can see me! I love to give her kisses so she knows how much I love her.

Stay tuned for more photos as she gets older! I’m going to have my work cut out for me!

Have a pawsome day!

Bernie Morse, Surrogate Kitten Mom

Bernie Morse, Surrogate Kitten Mom

Isolation Area Renovation

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We sometimes see sick patients in the hospital that have (or are suspected of having) a contagious illness. We have always had a separate isolation area where they stayed while they were with us, but it was in need of a makeover. I got to help oversee the renovation, since I know what will make the patients feel the most comfortable, since I am a pet myself!

Over the past few weeks the builders have replaced the floors, refinished and painted the walls, & installed a new sink and cabinet. I made sure this process went very smoothly:

I am so excited to show off our new and improved isolation area!

 

Our isolation area has solid walls and stainless steel cages that we are able to disinfect completely. We have a completely separate set of equipment & supplies that will be used in here as well such as, a covered trash can, a covered laundry hamper, fluid pump & stand, food & water bowls, litterboxes, catheter supplies, syringes and blood tubes, a thermometer, and more! We also have cleaning supplies on hand as well as disposable gowns, shoe covers, masks, and a disinfecting foot bath.

An isolation area is an absolute must in any veterinary hospital. Along with our renovated space, we have also updated our isolation protocols to help protect our staff and all of our patients in our hospital.

If you would like to see our isolation area for yourself, come out to our Open House on Saturday, October 4th from 12:30-2:30pm! We will be doing tours of the entire clinic, you can meet all of our doctors and staff. We are also giving out goodie bags and will have raffle prizes, food/refreshments, a face painter & teddy bear surgery for the kiddos!

We hope to see everyone there!

Have a Pawsome Day!

Bernie Morse

Bernie Morse

Happy 4th of July!

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Hello everyone! I hope you are all ready to enjoy a fun and safe 4th of July with your family and friends! I can’t wait for the long weekend so I can relax by the pool.

My dad wants me to share some helpful tips to keep your furry family members safe during the celebrations:

  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases. (Looks like I’ll be sticking to water then!)
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems. (We actually carry a pet safe sunscreen in our boutique!)
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. (I guess this means no BBQ for me…boo!)
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home. You can leave the television or radio on for them to drown out the noise. (I don’t like fireworks, so I will be staying home, snuggled up in my bed.)

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Have a pawsome weekend!

Bernie Morse, Proud To Be An American

Bernie Morse,
Proud To Be An American

Bernie Goes To The Dentist

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Well everyone, I’m embarassed to say that my dad told me that my breath was smelling pretty awful recently. I didn’t understand what he meant since I thought it smelled awesome! Apparently stinky breath can be a sign of dental disease…I had no idea!

My dad told me I needed a dental cleaning to help my breath smell better and to clean the tartar and plaque off of my teeth. I didn’t like the sound of this, but since I know he loves me and wants only the best for me, I agreed.

They wrote me on the surgery board at the animal hospital, so everyone would know that I was going to be one of their VIP surgery patients that day.

Then they gave me an injection of something that made me feel sleepy, and they shaved a little hair on my front leg to place a catheter. This was so I could get fluids while I was having my dental cleaning. (I overheard them saying that it would help keep my blood pressure regulated while I was under anesthesia.) They lifted my sleepy self up and placed me on the dental table. I was hooked up to a monitor so they could keep an eye on my heart rate, my blood pressure, my ECG, and my oxygen saturation. I also got to lay on a warming pad to keep my temperature regulated during my cleaning.

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I had a comprehensive dental cleaning including ultrasonic scaling, polishing, and even a sealant applied to my teeth! Luckily my dad had this done when my dental disease was pretty mild, so I didn’t need any tooth extractions.

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After my dental cleaning, I was still pretty sleepy. My tongue was having a problem staying in my mouth. My dad let me take a long nap in his office.

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To keep my teeth looking great and to keep my breath fresh, my dad (and my friends on the staff at Cornerstone Animal Clinic) are going to help me with some preventative dental care. We have dental diets, dental treats and chews, toothbrushes, and even toothpaste made just for dogs and cats!

If your furry family member has stinky breath (like I did), it’s time to get them checked out by one of our awesome animal doctors so you can see if they need a dental cleaning too! Call us to schedule an appointment at 972-385-3555.

I hope to meet you soon! I would love to show off my fresh breath and clean teeth (and have you give me a treat!)

Have a pawsome day!

Bernie Morse, Fresh Breath King

Bernie Morse, Fresh Breath King

Storm Watch 2014

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I knew when I woke up that today was going to be a stormy day…I picked it up with my keen sense of storm prediction.

I put on my Thundershirt when I got to work to help me stay calm so that I could help my dad while he works and also help to keep all of the patients at the clinic calm as well. I also convinced some of the staff to feed me some Stress Away treats as…I have excellent powers of persuasion!

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We had a tornado warning this afternoon and the tornado sirens sounded. I made sure to take cover under my desk so that I would be safe.

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Once the worst of the storm passed, I was exhausted. It’s hard work being a storm chaser! My meteorological skills were really being used to the max today! I decided that it was time for me to take a much-deserved nap!

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I hope that you and your fur-kids have a safe day! Stay indoors if you can!

Pawsitively Yours,

Bernie, Storm Chaser

Bernie, Storm Chaser

My Day At The Spa

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Well, much to my dismay, my dad said he didn’t like that I was starting to smell like a dog! Can you believe it? I have been working hard at rolling in the dirt and grass at home to perfect the ideal scent for him and he doesn’t like it. I guess it’s a good thing they have a full-service grooming department at Cornerstone Animal Clinic so I can get all cleaned up while my dad is at work! I have to admit, I did love being pampered, and they even gave me a stylish bandana to wear. I guess since I’m becoming a celebrity I should start enjoying this kind of lifestyle!

Our Bathing Department

Our Bathing Department

Our Grooming Department

Our Grooming Department

Me After My Spa Day

Me After My Spa Day

You should bring your fur-kid in for a day of pampering at the spa…I’m sure they would love it too!

Have a pawsome day!

Bernie

Bernie