Local Issues

A number of problems seem to be prevalent to the Leaburg Oregon area, while others do not occur here at all.  We highlight some of the important issues in Oregon, and indicate where they are more prevalent.


We are seeing increased numbers of pets infected with roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms, most of which pose a zoonotic threat to people. Therefore we recommend a yearly parasite control plan that you can discuss with your veterinarian.


This is caused by an organism found in certain local fish species.  Our dogs can contract it by ingesting the fish, or even licking a utensil with fish blood on it.  The dog may even find the fish inland, if an osprey or eagle drops one in the middle of your yard.  Symptoms of the illness are lethargia, vomiting, diarrhea, or elevated temperature, and dehydration and they usually begin within 5 days of contracting the organism. If not treated 90% of the time it is fatal to dogs! Please bring your pet in if you suspect salmon poisoning, even if you are unsure if it's had access to fish. If finances are a problem we can work something out.


This organism is also found in our local waterways.  It can cause illness in both humans and pets, and the primary symptoms are diarrhea, lethargia and vomiting.  We can check your pets feces to determine if this is the culprit.


Rabies is a virus that is lethal to both humans and pets.  It is contratced via bitewound from an infected animal (such as a rabid bat), and can take years to kill the recipient.  The virus travels through the nervous system to the brain, and once there, eventually kills the animal.  Symptoms can include:  increased aggression, acting disoriented, lack of interest in eating, lack of fear, drooling, and many others.  Unfortunately, the distemper virus (found in racoons, fox, and other carnivores) can share some of these symptoms.  It is impossible for us to tell which virus the animal has without testing it.

The only species that carry the rabies virus in our region of Oregon are bats.  An extremely small percentage of bats (approximately 0.01%) are thought to carry the virus, but we happen to come into contact with the sick ones.  We do know that we have had a few rabies positive bats in the McKenzie Valley, and exposures have been under the following circumstance. If a bat is laying on the ground, it is because it is sick, and therefore should NOT be handled.  Occasionally bats live in peoples attics, under their eaves, or elsewhere amongst their homes.  They may enter the living area where our pets can catch them more easily.  If you have a bat in your home, confine it to one room  by shutting the doors.  Then, open all routes to the outside for the bat to escape (windows, doors).  Allow the bat a couple hours to find its way outside.  If this does not work, contact Animal Control or a Wildlife Removal specialist to remove the bats and seal off any entries to your home.  Bats can squeeze into very small spaces (nickel size diameter, or 1/2" gap), so be thorough in sealing off your home.   


West nile virus is increasing in occurrence in Oregon.  The virus is contracted via a mosquito bite, and it can affect both humans and pets.  Livestock seems to be the most at risk, because they are outdoors and in contact with mosquitoes all day long.  The virus causes flu-like symptoms and can be lethal for 1 out of 150 people who contract it.  The most vulnerable are people with weak immune systems (sick, elderly, or babies).  Horses are commonly vaccinated against this virus.  Please remove any unnatural sources of standing water from your property (bowls, flower pots, containers, etc) to prevent mosquito breeding habitat.  Create habitat that will encourage dragonflies and birds that naturally feed on mosquitoes.


Heartworm is a worm that can live in dog and cat hearts.  The worm is contracted via a mosquito bite, and it is ultimately lethal if not treated.  Heartworm is not prevalent in our region of Oregon, but  certain hotspots exist.  If you bring your pets to Fern Ridge, camping, or travel outside the area where there are mosquitoes, it is advisable to use heartworm preventative medications. As most heartworm preventatives also include parasite control, we highly recommend monthly use regardless of the heartworm threat if you take your pet out of the area.


Leptospirosis is a spirochete bacterium that is contracted by abraded skin coming into contact with the urine of an infected host.  Occasional cases have been reported in our area where pets have drank from local creeks.  Vaccinations exist only for a few of the types of lepto.  Symptoms include: fever, joint paint, malaise, no appetite and nausea.


We will try to keep this updated with any recent issues we hear about in Oregon.


An extensive list of toxic plants can be found in the VIN library on our "Pet Library" page.


A few species of wildlife in our region of Oregon can cause problems for our pets.  Among these are porcupine, fish, bats, nutria, coyote, cougar, and bobcat.
On rare occasion, dogs like to try to kill porcupines.  In the process, they receive dozens of quills embedded in their flesh.  These usually need to be removed by a veterinarian while the dog is under anesthesia.  The quills have barbs at their tips, and are very difficult to remove while the dog is awake.  If the tip breaks off, it can migrate inside the dog and cause infections or worse problems.
Fish can be a problem for dogs if the dog ingests one that is carrying a parasite that causes salmon poisoning.
Bats are currently the only known carriers of rabies in our region of Oregon.  Less than 0.01% of the population are thought to be carriers; however, sick bats are on the ground and are accessible to our pets.  This is why it is important to keep our pets away from bats, and bats out of our homes.
Nutria are very large rodents that are generally found near (or in) water.  They are an introduced pest species, and can cause a great deal of damage to your dog if they get into a fight.  Keep your dogs away from nutria.
Coyote, bobcat, and cougar have the ability to kill our cats and dogs.  Generally, smaller pets are more at risk, but a cougar could even kill a large dog if it needed to.  These species are rarely seen in urban areas, but coyote are often seen in rural areas.  As humans expand housing into previously forested habitat, sighting have become more common.  The majority of wildlife avoids humans, but outdoor cats can be easy prey for coyotes and cougars.  Bobcats may not eat domestic cats, but they may get into fights.  Keep your pets safe, by bringing them in the house at night.  All of these species tend to hunt at night, dawn, or dusk.  Also, do not put pet food outside for your cats or dogs.  You will attract wildlife that finds this tasty as well.
See our "Wildlife" page for more information about prevention.

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