Monthly Archives: June 2013

Real Sun

Real Sun Exposure

Many pets benefit from getting to be outside in real sunlight. Pets should never be left alone while outside as 1. they can overheat even if shade is provided, 2. predators (cats, dogs, raccoons, hawks, etc.), 3. escape. If your pet is placed on lawn, make sure that there has been no application of fertilizer, insecticide, herbicide or pesticides of any kind. It is also not a good idea to allow unlimited access to the fresh grass as in some rabbits and guinea pigs it may cause a “colic-like” symptom. If fresh grass has been gradually introduced to your pet over a several week period prior to going out on the grass, it is unlikely for the pet to gorge itself and a problem is likely averted. Watch closely its consumption however. Many rabbits, guinea pigs, bearded dragons and iguanas really like dandelion leaves and flowers, again be sure that no herbicide or other substance has been applied to the leaves or flowers. Keep your pet away from toxic plants. See the list on, under Pet Information, scroll to the bottom list of General Pet Information. If there is ever any doubt, don’t allow your pet near the plant.

Pet Food Recall (again)

Natura Pet Products has issued a recall affecting specific lots of several brands of dry pet food and treats over concerns they may be contaminated with salmonella, which can sicken pets and people who handle contaminated food. The brands subject to recall — Innova Dry, EVO, California Natural, Healthwise, Karma and Mother Nature — were sold in the U.S. and Canada via veterinary practices, retail outlets and online.

Ferret Distemper Vaccine

The manufacturer of the licensed ferret distemper vaccine has notified us that no vaccine will be available now until October 2013. Any stock on hand expired 6/14/13. As it is critical for ferrets to be vaccinated for distemper to prevent this usually deadly disease in ferrets, we are going back to a vaccine that was used for years prior to the availability of the licenced for use in ferrets Merial Purevax Ferret Distemper. The product does confer immunity to ferrets protecting them from distemper, it is just not licenced for use in that species. We will review this with you prior to vaccination, and have you sign a release that it is ok to use this vaccine. As said before, we have years of experience with the vaccine we now must use, but it is not licensed for use in ferrets. (It is licensed for use in dogs). The unavailability of the ferret vaccine is a severe problem – we had this happen a number of years ago and it was over a year that we had to wait for the ferret vaccine. In the US, if there is a vaccine that is licensed for use in a species you have to use that vaccine, that is why we’ll have to go back to using it when it becomes available, but I will do so with reluctance as I feel the company does not care about ferrets and their needs.

Ferret Distemper Vaccination

Ferrets need to be vaccinated for distemper, as that virus is airborne, and recently there was an outbreak traced to raccoon distemper. There is a vaccine licensed for use in ferrets (Merial PureVax Ferret) on an annual basis. Unfortunately, Merial has ceased production of it temporarily, i.e. not back available until October 2013, forcing us to use the vaccine that we used to use prior to the licensed PureVax Ferret. The “old” vaccine over time has proven to be effective, and we are going to have to use it until the Merial product is available again. Be assured that the puppy distemper vaccine is safe and effective. Don’t wait to get your ferret vaccinated for distemper – if he/she is due between now and October, please be don’t hesitate to do the distemper vaccination.

Summer is Here!

I think maybe summer is really here which is unusual for June. The weather has been far warmer than it usually is. Our pets are not yet acclimated to warmer temperatures. The ferrets are still losing hair and getting the slimmer summer body condition. The shedding seems like it has been going on for weeks – I would have thought their undercoats would have pretty much been gone, but I keep removing more wads of fluff daily. The turtle has been enjoying the warm water of her outdoor pond – but anytime you put a turtle or pet outdoors it should be supervised. Pets can fall prey to raptors, and if left outdoors in the evening, raccoons or even coyotes could prey on them. Many pet birds are lost each year – they fly out of open doors or windows. Even if your bird’s wings are clipped if given enough height (like up on a deck) they can get lift and fly off. Clipping your bird’s wings may make it much harder for them to fly “up” but again, birds with clipped wings can get some distance. With heat, remember that guinea pigs and chinchillas are extremely heat sensitive and cannot tolerate temperatures much above 80. Especially if the humidity is high. Ferrets also can get heat stroke above 80 degrees. Keep these pets in the coolest part of your house if you don’t have air conditioning. If your house gets too warm, even with fans and cool packs (place frozen packs under caging), then consider boarding them with us as we have air conditioning. The clinic phone is 425-821-6165. Check out our website

Oh, Rats

Just recently there was a nice little write-up in the Sunday paper magazine section about pet rats. They talk about the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association (AFRMA) that is based in Riverside, CA. They quote “rat race” as having a more literal meaning when putting rats through a maze – 4 rats start the race. The article talks about the growing popularity of owning pet rats and the joy of having them. Rats are sweet, cuddly, very intelligent and social. The downside is the number of medical problems that they have (mammary tumors, respiratory disease). Spaying at a young age does seem to prevent mammary tumors. The respiratory disease issue can be managed for the most part – many rats have the organisms which cause problems, but not all rats will have clinical symptoms.

Fancy rats come in many different colors and hair types, and a popular breed is called a “Dumbo” because their ears are larger and set lower on the head – “Dumbo”. But any rat regardless of color or variety can be a sweet, loving pet.