New Veterinary Clinic

Articles and Photos by Kate Maxwell – The Willits News

One week after this past Christmas, the staff at East Hill Veterinary Clinic celebrated the arrival of a present for the small animals of Willits: the opening of a brand new, expansive, and energy efficient building designed specially to expand the 35 year old Willits animal clinic.

“I just wish Dr. Grasse was here to see it” said Dr. Chana Eisenstein, DVM, “it’s the culmination of what he built here in the community.”

Eisenstein purchased the clinic with her partner Holly Bennett in September 2009, after moving from the bay area, about six weeks before beloved local vet Dr. Frank Grasse passed away. Grasse, whose name adorns the dog park located on East Commercial Street, was a mainstay in the community and operated his practice out of the same building after taking it over from rural vet Dr. Eric Davis.

After purchasing the practice, Eisenstein began planning the expansion a year or two later to improve safety and efficiency, but kept the focus on community throughout the process.

“We worked with locals on the whole thing – the designer, engineers, contractors and subcontractors are all locals,” she explained, “and we went with the greenest building possible.” The new, fully Americans with Disabilities Act compliant facility sits next to the former building, which is rented out as small offices. The expansion from a 2,400 square foot office to one double the size now allows the clinic to improve efficiency and provide a safer, cleaner environment for all visiting animals.

The construction began last April on the steel-framed building, designed by Wayne Bashore. Steel components were fabricated on site, and construction and other contracting was provided initially by Schulz Construction, and then transitioned to Collicot Construction.

The airy, well-lit, and spacious new building includes a variety of energy-saving features, including LED lighting, double and triple insulated window panes, and a solar array installed on the roof. “By spring or summer we should be providing all our own electricity, as well as giving back to the grid,” elaborated Eisenstein.

Inside, the facilities are significantly expanded, with a layout intended to ensure improved safety and health of animal visitors and efficiency of staff time. Local animal themed art adorns the walls in each space, including a number of collages from local Chris Forest and paintings from Laurel Miller, who’s daughter Jessica works at the clinic.

“It’s more efficient, and we can do a lot more with the space,” Eisenstein said. The number of exam rooms have doubled from two to four, with each room equipped with a moveable table that can be adjusted for the height and needs of each pet.

The treatment areas are also larger, with four tables in the main treatment room, and a full lab to do in-house testing and blood work. The main room now includes an area for prepping and aiding recuperating animals, so clinicians can keep a watch on their charges at all times. The treatment room also includes two “hotdogger” units to keep pets warm and healthy while anaesthetized. “It’s so nice – it’s a better, safer, and cleaner environment for everybody,” Eisenstein remarked, “and we have more ability to monitor hospitalized patients, since they’re right under our noses.”

During a tour, Eisenstein greeted Hugo, one dog scheduled for treatment, exclaiming as to how much he’d grown. “It’s so nice, we know them all and get to see them since they were small,” she commented.

The new building also includes a separate digital x-ray room, which is much safer for both animals and staff, and allows easier transfer of images. There’s also an isolation room, to allow for the improved containment of infectious diseases such as kennel cough. Additional improvements include two surgery rooms with a separate supply space, and the creation of an area of indoor kennels with the future capacity for radiant heating.

The layout also includes considerations to better utilize staff time, such as a storage room, two staff bathrooms, and even a room intended to become a grooming facility (but has been useful overflow storage during the move.) A new laundry room allows for the blankets and towels used to maintain animal comfort to be easily cleaned; previous facilities were housed outside. A central vacuum unit with hook-ups throughout the building allows staff to maintain hygiene throughout the space, and a closet marked as a “Squirrel’s Lair” provides room to keep the server and other electrical equipment out of the way.

“We get much more exercise here, it’s cardiovascular,” laughed Associate Veterinarian Dr. Emily Nietrzeba, DVM, MPH as she passed by. Nietrzeba also sees animal clients at the clinic.

The building houses four offices, two staff bathrooms and a staff break room with kitchen facilities, which was filled with happy employees during TWN’s visit. Previously, staff had to share a single bathroom with clients and had no space to eat lunch or relax between clients. The expanded administrative space also allows for two staff members to assist checking patients in and out. The clinic’s two cats, Lisbeth and Simon, who have adjusted to the new space. They have a cat door in the back for easy access to the outside.

The entire building is ADA-accessible, allowing clients to easily enter the main entrance (with no stairs), as well as a new and much larger client bathroom, which Eisentstein said was important in creating the building design: “it felt very good for us to make this change.”

Remarking, “oh, my rooster’s here!,” Eisentein rushed off to attend to patients after showing off the new space to this reporter. All small animals are welcome at the East Hill clinic, including cats, dogs, birds, and some “pocket pets” such as hamsters. The clinic has a full-time staff of 12 with two part-time employees, and also provides shared after-hours emergency services in coordination with Dr. Fred Jacobs at Willits Animal Hospital. The clinic also provides feline services to the Humane Society of Inland Mendocino.

More information about East Hill’s services can be found on their website, where patients can also contact the clinic regarding prescriptions, refills, appointments, and with other questions. The staff also post fun and informative updates about lost/found animals and animal care, as well as list useful resources. The clinic can also be found on Facebook.

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East Hill Veterinary Clinic is located at 1200 East Hill Road, and can also be reached by calling 459-5236. Open Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Rattlesnake Vaccinations

Time to Get your Pet Vaccinated for Rattlesnake Bites!

Photo by:  John Sullivan of wildherps.com
Article from:  redrockbiologics.com

Rattlesnakes live in a variety of habitats.

They are found in wetlands, deserts and forests, from sea level to mountain elevations. Rattlesnakes are most active in warmer seasons, from spring to autumn. In southern latitudes they are occasionally found year-round.

Rattlesnake bite is a veterinary emergency.

It results in serious injury or even death to thousands of dogs each year. Rattlesnake venom is a complex mixture of toxins that spreads through a dog’s body following the bite. Red Rock Rattlesnake Vaccine was developed specifically to help defend dogs from the dangerous effects of rattlesnake venom. That’s rattlesnake protection that will put you and your dog at ease.

Dogs are at risk for rattlesnake bite.

They can encounter a rattlesnake anytime they are in rattlesnake habitat. You and your dog may live near rattlesnakes. You may travel through or frequently visit places where rattlesnakes are found. Perhaps rattlesnakes live where you take your dog hiking, camping or hunting. Like people, dogs may stumble upon a snake by accident. Curiosity or a protective instinct can place your dog at risk. Red Rock Rattlesnake Vaccine helps to protect her.

Damage caused by rattlesnake bite can be serious.

When injected into an unprotected dog, the toxins in snake venom are very painful and can have serious consequences. Even if your dog survives the immediate effects of a rattlesnake bite, he can be permanently injured by the venom.

Treatment of rattlesnake bite is expensive.

Treatment of snakebite may include antivenom injections that can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Use of antivenom is associated with an increased risk of adverse effects which can complicate a dog’s recovery. Other costs of snakebite treatment may include hospitalization, intravenous fluids, other medicines, and even surgery. Vaccination can reduce the impact of snakebite, reduce or eliminate the need for antivenom, and decrease other treatment costs.

The vaccine stimulates your dog’s own immunity.

Vaccines work by stimulating an animal’s immunity to defend against potentially harmful agents. The Rattlesnake Vaccine is intended to help create an immunity that will protect your dog against rattlesnake venom.

Snakebite is always an emergency.

Even after your dog is vaccinated against rattlesnake venom, she should be taken to a veterinarian for evaluation and care as soon as possible following snakebite. Veterinarians can determine whether your dog will require additional treatment. Even bites by non-venomous snakes can lead to serious infections and antibiotic treatment may be needed. A veterinarian is the best person to consult regarding medical decisions for your dog.

Poisonous Plants for Cats

Plants Toxic for Cats

Cats will chew on plants. And, because they love to climb and explore, it is difficult to keep plants out of their reach. Therefore, if you are going to have plants in your house, or if you let your cat out in your yard, you need to be able to accurately identify the plants to which your cat will be exposed. When in doubt, however, it is best to remove the plant from your home.

 If a plant is poisonous, assume all parts of the plant are poisonous — though some parts of the plant may have higher concentrations of the toxic principle than others. Many toxic plants are irritants: they cause inflammation of the skin, mouth, stomach, etc. The toxic principle in other plants may only affect a particular organ like the kidney or heart.

 The following is a listing of plants that are toxic to cats, as well as the most commonly encountered toxic plants:

  • Amaryllis (Amaryllis sp.)
  • Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons (Rhododendron sp.)
  • Castor Bean (Ricinus communis)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum sp.)
  • Cyclamen (Cyclamen sp.)
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe sp.)
  • Lilies (Lilium sp.)
  • Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)
  • Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
  • Spanish thyme (Coleus ampoinicus)
  • Tulip and Narcissus bulbs (Tulipa and Narcissus sp.)
  • Yew (Taxus sp.)

You can also visit the Pet Poison Helpline for their Top 10 Plants Poisonous to Pets, and the ASPCA for their extensive list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants.

What to Watch For

 Since many plants are irritants, especially for the gastrointestinal tract, most symptoms seen will be the result of irritation or inflammation, such as redness, swelling, or itchiness of the skin or mouth.

 If the toxic principle directly affects a particular organ, the symptoms seen will be related to that organ. For example:

  • Difficulty breathing (if the airways are affected)
  • Drooling or difficulty swallowing (if the mouth, throat, or esophagus is affected)
  • Vomiting (if the stomach or intestines are affected)
  • Diarrhea (if the intestines or colon are affected)
  • Excessive drinking and urinating (if the kidneys are affected)
  • Fast, slow, or irregular heart beat (if the heart is affected)

Immediate Care

 If you see your cat eating a plant and you are uncertain if it is poisonous, or if you suspect your cat ate such a plant within the past 1 to 2 hours, you can do the following before you take him to your veterinarian:

  1. Remove any plant material from the hair and skin.
  2. If it necessary, you can wash the cat with warm water and a little non-irritating dish soap.
  3. The identity of the plant is very important for determining treatment. If you don’t know what kind of plant it is and you can bring it with you, do so. Veterinarians don’t receive much training in plant identification, but every effort needs to be made to identify the plant. If your cat has vomited at all, try to collect some it for the doctor.
  4. Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680.

Veterinary Care

Diagnosis

The best diagnosis is made by identifying the plant. Your veterinarian will give your cat a physical exam, and order such tests as necessary to determine the overall health of your cat. These tests are especially necessary if the plant is known to target specific organs.

Treatment

Once your cat has vomited, your veterinarian may give him activated charcoal to absorb any of the toxic principle that may be in the gut. Your vet may administer medication like sucralfate, which protects the damaged areas of the stomach.

Supportive care, such as intravenous fluids or anti-inflammatory medication will be used as needed, especially if the gastrointestinal tract is severely affected.

Living and Management

Some plants are fatal for cats when ingested, regardless of how quickly and excellent the care may be. This is usually true of lilies. Other plants may cause enough damage that prolonged aftercare in the form of medication or special diet is needed. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions.

Prevention

 Take whatever steps you can to protect your cat from exposure to poisonous plants. This includes removing such plants from your home and yard.

Article taken from:  http://www.petmd.com/cat/emergency/poisoning-toxicity

Your Cat’s Annual Exam

by Dr. Dawn Ruben, DVM
John Hopkins Medicine

It’s that time of year again. Time to take your cat to the veterinarian for his annual examination. But maybe you’re thinking that you might skip it this year. After all, he isn’t sick. Maybe you will just put it off until next year – what could it hurt?

Actually, delaying an annual physical exam can hurt. Annual physical exams are an important part of providing optimal health care and the best longevity for your beloved companion. Cats age quickly and they are unable to tell us if they are feeling a little off. Remember, it may be one year in your life but that can be about 5-10 comparative years in your cat’s life. A lot can change in that much time.

Sometimes, cats can be ill for weeks and you are unaware of it. This may not be from a lack of monitoring or caring; your cat just hides his illness until it is so far advanced he has no choice but to show signs of disease.

Your veterinarian has special training and experience in detecting subtle illness in pets. Listening to the heart can detect murmurs. Increased lung sounds may indicate early illness. Abdominal palpation may reveal pain in certain areas, abnormal size and shape of various organs or even tumors. Checking out the eyes can detect early signs of cataract or other ocular problems. Ears may be in need of cleaning or medication. Dental disease may be detected as well as signs of allergies or skin problems. It’s easier for someone who doesn’t see your pet every day to detects lumps and bumps that you may not have noticed. Comparing annual weights, too, can determine if your cat is heading down the path to obesity or is slowly losing weight.

As a cat reaches middle to old age, annual physical exams become even more important. Certain problems that you may simply attribute to “old age,” and just something you will have to live with, may be signs of underling disease and may be very treatable. Annual physical exams also give you an opportunity to ask your veterinarian any questions you may have about your cat’s health. Your veterinarian may recommend certain additional tests to determine overall health based on physical exam findings or may have suggestions for improving the quality of your cat’s life. Remember, the primary goal for your veterinarian is to keep your cat healthy and provide the best care available. Your veterinarian cares a great deal about your cat – almost as much as you.

A physical examination is not just a chance for your vet to see how cute your cat is; a thorough exam can pick up on a variety of illnesses and prevent potential catastrophic disease. By finding, diagnosing and treating these problems early, your cat will live a much healthier and longer life.

Your Dog’s Annual Exam

It’s that time of year again. Time to take your dog to the veterinarian for his annual examination. But maybe you’re thinking that you might skip it this year. After all, he isn’t sick. Maybe you will just put it off until next year – what could it hurt?

Actually, delaying an annual physical exam can hurt. Annual physical exams are an important part of providing optimal health care and the best longevity for your beloved companion. Dogs age quickly and they are unable to tell us if they are feeling a little off. Remember, it may be one year in your life but that can be about 5-10 comparative years in your pet’s life. A lot can change in that much time.

Sometimes, dogs can be ill for weeks and you are unaware of it. This may not be from a lack of monitoring or caring; your dog just hides his illness until it is so far advanced he has no choice but to show signs of disease.

Your veterinarian has special training and experience in detecting subtle illness in pets. Listening to the heart can detect murmurs. Increased lung sounds may indicate early illness. Abdominal palpation may reveal pain in certain areas, abnormal size and shape of various organs or even tumors. Checking out the eyes can detect early signs of cataract or other ocular problems. Ears may be in need of cleaning or medication. Dental disease may be detected as well as signs of allergies or skin problems. It’s easier for someone who doesn’t see your pet every day to detect lumps and bumps that you may not have noticed. Comparing annual weights, too, can determine if your dog is heading down the path to obesity or is slowly losing weight.

As a dog reaches middle to old age, annual physical exams become even more important. Certain problems that you may simply attribute to “old age,” and just something you will have to live with, may be signs of underling disease and may be very treatable. Annual physical exams also give you an opportunity to ask your veterinarian any questions you may have about your dog’s health. Your veterinarian may recommend certain additional tests to determine overall health based on physical exam findings or may have suggestions for improving the quality of your dog’s life. Remember, the primary goal for your veterinarian is to keep your dog healthy and provide the best care available. Your veterinarian cares a great deal about your dog – almost as much as you.

A physical examination is not just a chance for your vet to see how cute your dog is; a thorough exam can pick up on a variety of illnesses and prevent potential catastrophic disease. By finding, diagnosing and treating these problems early, your pet will live a much healthier and longer life.

For information on your Cat’s Annual Exam, please go here.

Polydipsia and Polyuria

Excessive Drinking & Urinating in Cats

The term polydipsia refers to excessive thirst manifested by excessive water intake, which in turn usually leads to polyuria, which is the formation and excretion of a large volume of urine. Polydipsia and polyuria are early signs of several diseases, including:

  • Kidney failure
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hyperactivity of the thyroid gland
  • Uterine infection (called pyometra)
  • Liver disease
  • High blood calcium
  • Uncommon abnormalities of the pituitary gland
  • Inability of the tubules of the kidney to reabsorb water properly (i.e. “nephrogenic” diabetes insipidus


Cats normally take in about 20 to 40 milliliters per pound of body weight per day, or about 2 ½ cups per day for a 10 pound cat. This includes any water that is taken in when eating canned food. Anything more than that, under normal environmental conditions, is considered polydipsia.

You should watch your cat for increased thirst and urinations. You may observe an increase in the amount of wet litter in a cat’s litter box. Some cats may begin drinking from a dripping faucet in the sink or from an open toilet bowl. However, if you want to determine how much your cat is drinking, allow him only one source of water and subtract the amount left in the bowl after 24 hours from the amount you put in originally. If you determine that your pet is drinking excessively, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Diagnosis
One of the first steps in the evaluation of a cat with polyuria and polydipsia is to determine the urine concentration by a test called “urine specific gravity.” The specific gravity of pure water is 1.000. Polyuria is suspected if the urine specific gravity is less than 1.035. This can be verified by measuring daily urine output. Polyuria is present if the cat’s daily urine output is greater than 20 milliliters per pound of body weight per day.
Several diagnostic tests may be needed to determine the cause of polyuria and polydipsia because many different diseases may cause these symptoms. Tests may include:

Complete medical history and physical examination including palpating the abdomen to check kidney and liver size, checking for vaginal discharge in females and palpating the thyroid gland.

The history that includes the determination of drug administration (e.g. diuretics, anticonvulsants, cortisone-type drugs, salt; or recent fluid therapy); reproductive status (i.e. sexually intact or spayed) in females; occurrence of urinary accidents in the house; abnormal odor or appearance of the urine; and the presence of weight loss, appetite change, or any other abnormalities.

Treatment
There are several potential causes of polyuria and polydipsia, and the underlying cause of these symptoms must be determined before appropriate treatment can be initiated.

The occurrence of polyuria and polydipsia usually does not constitute an emergency, but several potentially serious diseases (such as diabetes mellitus, kidney failure, liver failure or high blood calcium caused by a malignancy) may be the underlying cause of the symptoms. Hypercalcemia can be a medical emergency and if identified should be treated appropriately with intravenous saline solution and diuretics.

Home Care
You should also monitor your cat for any clinical abnormalities and discuss them with your veterinarian. Monitor the amount of water consumed by your cat and try to identify any changes in urinary behavior and urine output. Also monitor your cat’s appetite and activity level. Discuss any changes you observe or concerns you may have with your veterinarian.

Polyuria and polydipsia cannot be prevented, and successful treatment depends on identification of the underlying disease causing these symptoms.