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.

PARASITES

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.

SALMON POISONING

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.

GIARDIA

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

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

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

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

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.

DISEASE OUTBREAKS

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

TOXIC PLANTS

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

WILDLIFE

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.

Stray & Feral Cats

Our Policy: We do not have the ability to care for stray or feral cats.  Dropping animals off without permission, at vet clinics or elsewhere, is considered abandonment and is punishable by law. (LCARA Case 7.105)

Lane County Animal Regulation Authority (LCARA) has their own policy for dealing with stray and feral cats.  Please refer to their website for more information: http://www.co.lane.or.us/animals/catquestions.htm

Greenhill Humane Society has their own policy for dealing with stray and feral cats.  Please refer to their website: http://www.green-hill.org/surrendering_an_animal.html

Low Cost Spay & Neuter Optionshttp://www.green-hill/spay_neuter.html

Foster Sign-up: We maintain a list of foster homes for kittens and puppies.  If you are interested, please sign up in-person at our office.

Species that interact with our pets

The most common species to cause conflict with our pets are porcupine, raccoon, nutria, bats, coyote, bobcat and cougar.  Conflicts are rare, but they do happen.  Dogs will often try to kill porcupine and nutria, but do not realize that these are tough foes.  Porcupines will leave your dog impaled will dozens of quills that require a veterinarian and anesthesia to remove.  Bats can transmit the rabies virus to your pet if they are bitten by a rabid bat.  These bats, being sick, are found by your pet on the ground.  When your pet tries to kill the bat, your pet may be bitten. Nutria, raccoons, bobcat, coyote, and cougar can kill dogs due to the severe bite wounds they inflict. Most wildlife avoids humans and pets, unless it is ill or looking for easy prey.  Your housecat or tiny dog may be easy prey for a hungry coyote or cougar.  It is important never to leave food outside of your home (ie. cat food), since this will attract all kinds of wild animals who are hungry and looking for a free meal.

Dangers of interaction

Aside from fight wounds that can be lethal, some wildlife can carry diseases that can be lethal to your pets (rabies, distemper).

How to discourage wildlife from your property

Wildlife comes to your home for the food and housing.  They are often just passing through their territory (or looking for new territory), and happen upon something they desire on your property.  This is usually food or a good place to den.
REMOVE FOOD:  The best way to keep wildlife away from your home is to remove ALL sources of food from the area.  Do not feed any of your pets outside (or at least bring the food inside after 1 hour) and keep your garbage in tightly sealed garbage cans that have an interlocking lid.
REMOVE DEN SITES:  Seal off attic and crawlspace access, keep sheds closed, remove slash piles, look for any place on your property that would offer shelter from the elements that could house an animal, and prevent access.  If you have an animal living in one of these places, encourage it to leave (after it has weaned its young) by either calling a wildlife specialist to remove it, or by sealing off the entry once it has exited.  To discourage them from using a space, try placing a rag soaked with amonia in the location.  Wildlife often finds this odor offensive and will leave.
PROTECT PLANTS:  If deer are eating plants in your garden, you may want to invest in deer fencing or netting.  Alternatively, placing a tiny amount of predator scent around the plants may discourage them from the area (but it may also ATTRACT predators!).
MAKE AREA UNFRIENDLY:  Try placing motion lights on the property.  Some nocternal predators will avoid areas where they are visible.

Enjoy wildlife

There are few places left in this country where we can enjoy seeing wildlife such as cougars and bears.  They are dangerous to interact with; however, they are facinating to watch from the safety of our windows.  Keep your pets safe indoors, make your property inhospitable to them, but enjoy watching wildlife pass through your yard.  Not everyone loves wildlife, but we all should respect their ability to “make a living” in an unforgiving world.

There’s an animal on the road, what do we do?

Call ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation)! 541-744-8080

Laws

Many laws exist to protect wildlife.  Few people are aware that it is usually ILLEGAL to kill, trap, or relocate most wildlife without a permit (or license).  Exceptions: In Oregon, it is LEGAL to kill certain species of rodents (nutria, mountain beaver, gophers, voles, yellow bellied marmots, rats and mice), moles, badger, opossum, porcupine, skunks, weasels, and coyotes.  It is only legal to kill protected furbearers or dogs without a permit/license if they are in the act of chasing livestock or they are threatening human lives.
There are many reasons for regulations, including the protection of the public, management of wildlife populations, and conservation of threatened or endangered species.  Reasons not to relocate wildlife include: the threat of spreading diseases, the likelihood that the relocated animal will die trying to return to its former territory (they will travel dozens of miles at times to attempt to return, and get hit by cars in the process), current wildlife residents where you relocate the animal will fight with the new animal and you will have caused excessive stress/injury/death to all animals involved.
Only licensed officials should deal with these issues.  Refer to the ODFW Furbearer Laws, or contact the agencies listed below for more information:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)http://www.fws.gov
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)http://www.dfw.state.or.us

Leptospirosis

At East Lane Veterinary Hospital, we have always maintained the philosophy of educating and empowering you to make informed medical care decisions for your pets. In line with that philosophy, we feel compelled to inform you about an emerging disease in Oregon. This disease is called Leptospirosis and can affect many species including your dogs, cattle, or humans.

The carriers of Lepto include raccoons, rats and wildlife species. The infection is generally spread by contact with contaminated water. Even though it is often difficult to identify whether a dog is really at risk, we are obligated to suggest vaccination for any dog exposed to water sources that could have been in contact with wildlife or rats, or carcasses of wildlife that could be carrying it. Not only has Oregon become one of the higher incidence states but Lane and Multnomah counties have the highest number of cases in the state. The public health veterinarian for Oregon suggests that the number of confirmed cases of Lepto in pets is actually lower than the actual cases reported because many are treated without the test being performed. What is alarming about this probable underreporting is that this disease is communicable to humans in the same way it is acquired by dogs. As a result, more humans than we know may have been exposed to the disease.

This disease starts like so many other diseases with lethargy, loss of appetite and vomiting, but eventually harms the liver and kidneys and can be fatal.  It is preventable with an initial series of two vaccinations followed by an annual booster vaccination.   Unlike Rabies, Distemper and Parvo, your pet must be revaccinated every year for Lepto as the duration of the immunity from the vaccination is not as long. The primary group of dogs that we make the strongest recommendation for vaccinating is hunting dogs that are used in wet environments or any dog that is often hiking, camping, or drinking water from outside sources.

Salmon Poisoning

~SALMON POISONING
We hope that you have had success with your fishing trips. However, your ecstasy from bringing in that 30 pound salmon may be dimmed if your dog is allowed access to fresh, unfrozen or uncooked salmon or even trout or steelhead. In approximately 7-14 days, your dog may begin to show the symptoms of a disease called “salmon poisoning”. This disease is caused by an organism living in the tissues of many types of fish which reside in coastal fed streams and rivers of the northwest.
This disease is recognized by the following: the dog developing a substantially elevated temperature, loss of appetite, lethargy, then progressing to vomiting and watery diarrhea. The sooner you bring your dog in to be treated the better success of recovery they have. If the disease is recognized within the first couple of days when they have not yet become dehydrated, the response to treatment is dramatic. However, if dehydration is allowed to develop, the animal then requires intravenous fluids in addition to antibiotic therapy. This can be a deadly condition, but the determinant of both the cost of treatment and the chances of survival of your dog hinge on early recognition of the condition.
For those of you living in the area or for those who don’t, salmon poisoning is a probability if you fish long enough. Even the most careful fisherman cannot control the practices of those around you; the salmon die and are washed ashore and other more careless fisherman leave parts of the fish at the boat landings etc. If your dog eats fish, watch for 7-14 days and if any signs develop get the dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog is “not acting right” and you wonder at all if they have gotten into fish you should bring them to your veterinarian right away. Be aware that they may have even unearthed someone else’ carefully buried fish remains. On a positive note once your pet has had salmon poisoning and recovered they are more likely to develop immunity.