Help Pets Beat The Heat

Summer Heat and Your Pet

Beat the Heat





A record breaking heat wave is expected to arrive in Oregon this week!

We have some ideas below on how to help keep your pets cool, and when to be concerned about heat stroke.




Strategies to avoid heat stroke;

  • Make sure pets have unlimited access to cool water.
  • If outside, be sure pets have access to shade.
  • Limit exercise to cool mornings and evenings.
  • Asphalt can get very hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating
  • Kiddie pools can be a great idea for dogs – just ask Patrick 🙂
  • Brush matted hair and old dead coat from pets to help keep them comfortable. Shaving the hair off isn’t something we recommend, since the layers of healthy hair help to protect pets from sunburn and overheating.
  • Offer a cool damp towel out of the freezer for cats to lie on.

Watch for signs of heatstroke –

Heat stroke happens when a dog or cat cannot maintain their core body temperature of 101 to 102 degrees. If their temperature rises to 105 degrees or higher all body systems begin to fail.

Pets with flat faces, like Bulldogs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke. These pets, senior pets, and overweight pets or those with heart or lung disease, should be kept in cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Signs of heat stroke in dogs and cats include;

  • Excessive panting.
  • Thick ropey saliva
  • Dry/tacky gums
  • Blood red gums early on that will turn blue gray as shock sets in.
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures.
  • If heat stroke is suspected, transport your pet to the nearest veterinary facility immediately.

Home treatment of very mild cases of heat stroke would include;

  • Moving your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
  • Apply cold wet towels to the pets head, neck, chest, legs and belly, or run cool (not cold) water over them. Placing the pet in a kiddie pool or bathtub of cool water is ideal providing there is no risk of the pet accidentally inhaling and choking on the water.
  • Let them drink small amounts of cool water.
  • Use a rectal thermometer to check the pets temperature and if it has not returned to 102 or lower, transport to a veterinary medical facility is advised.

Considerations for small pets such as Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas, and Rabbits – 11412230_10153027111080345_5893568241467560269_n

Our small pets are also susceptible to heat stroke in hot weather.

How to try and avoid heat stroke in small pets;

  • Make sure they are in a shaded and well ventilated area. Access to a low breeze from a fan is a simple way to provide ventilation.
  • Be sure they have easy access to cool water at all times.
  • Cool, fresh vegetables may help them with comfort and hydration.
  • Freeze water in a gallon milk jug or 2 liter soda bottle and place it in the area of the pet. Often times they will lie down beside it to help cool themselves off. Another option is a sealed bag of ice with a pie pan or terracotta saucer over the top of it. The pet can sprawl their belly across the plate and gain relief from the heat.
  • Place cool tiles on the floor of their living quarters for them to lie on.
  • Dampen the ears with cool (not cold) water from your fingertips or a towel.

Signs of heat stroke in small mammals include;

  • Drooling.
  • Panting.
  • Weakness.
  • Unable to stand or walk.
  • Twitching/seizures.
  • Transport to your nearest veterinary facility if heat stroke is suspected.



Relax and enjoy the summer sun with your pets – just be aware of the little details that can prevent big heartbreak.

Happy summer from Team OVH!


Got Ticks?

Ticks: Arthropod Parasitesticks 2015

Until recently, ticks were rarely seen on our patients at Oswego Veterinary Hospital unless they had traveled to tick heavy regions such as the Columbia River gorge, southern Oregon, or Northern California.  This year, 2015, we are seeing a significantly higher number of ticks in our patients who haven’t even left Lake Oswego.  This increase in tick exposure is thought to be due to the increasingly warmer, drier weather trends.

Ticks are skin parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts.  Ticks like motion, warm temperatures from body heat, and the carbon dioxide exhaled by mammals, which is why they are attracted to such hosts as dogs, cats, rodents, rabbits, cattle, small mammals, etc.  The bite itself is not usually painful, but the parasite can transmit multiple diseases.   It takes several hours for an attached tick to transmit disease, so owners can usually prevent disease transmission to their pets by following a regular schedule to look for and remove ticks.

Most types of ticks require three hosts during a two-year lifespan – each tick stage requires a blood meal before it can reach the next stage.  Hard ticks have four life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult.  Larvae and nymphs must feed before they detach and molt.  Adult female ticks can engorge, increasing their weight by more than 100 fold.

During the egg-laying stage, ticks lay eggs in secluded areas with dense vegetation.  The eggs hatch within two weeks.  Some species of ticks lay 100 eggs at a time, others lay 3,000 to 6,000 per batch.  Once the eggs hatch, the ticks are in the larval stage, during which time the larvae move into grass and search for their first blood meal.  At this stage, they will attach themselves for several days to their first host, usually a bird or rodent, and then fall onto the ground.  The nymph stage begins after the first blood meal is completed.  Nymphs remain inactive during winter and start moving again in spring.  Nymphs find a host, usually a rodent, pet, or human.  Nymphs are generally about the size of a freckle. After this blood meal, ticks fall off the host and move into the adult stage. Throughout the autumn, male and female adults find a host, which is again usually a rodent, pet, or human.  The adult female feeds for 8 to 12 days.  The female mates while still attached to her host.  Both ticks fall off, and the males die.  The female remains inactive through the winter and in the spring lays her eggs in a secluded place.  If adults cannot find a host animal in the fall, they can survive in leaf litter until the spring.

What are the best ways to deal with these blood-sucking parasites?

Environmental Control

Treating the yard and outdoor kennel area with a tick spray can be an important tool in the arsenal against ticks. During prime tick months in the summer, spraying may be necessary every 1 to 2 weeks.

If ticks are indoors, flea and tick foggers, sprays, or powders can be used. Inside, ticks typically crawl (they don’t jump) up and may be in cracks around windows and doors. A one-foot barrier of insecticide, where the carpeting and wall meet, can help with tick control.

Prevent Ticks from Attaching

There are over 15 products currently marketed for tick control in dogs and cats.  Please consult with your veterinarian as to which product might be safest and most effective for your pets based on their health, lifestyle, and number/type of pets in your household.  For pets already on a flea/heartworm product, most tick products are safe to give as long as they are different types of insecticides.  Two different tick products should never be used at the same time.  Some of the products we carry either in the clinic or on our online store are summarized here:


  • Frontline (fipronil) is a liquid applied to the skin between a dog’s shoulders that discourages ticks from staying or implanting. This product lasts a month, also kills fleas and comes in dog and cat doses.
  • Revolution (selamectin) is labeled for one kind of tick.
  • (Advantix works great for dogs but can be fatal to cats, so should not be used in any household that has cats, or on dogs that may be around cats. For this reason, we do not carry it or recommend using)


  • Preventic collar (Amitraz)– DOGS ONLY over 12 weeks of age. Provides up to 90 days of protection against all types of ticks (not fleas). It is water resistant but should be removed for bathing.  Reaches maximum effect in less than 24 hours.
  • Seresto collar (Imidacloprid and Flumethrin) – DOGS AND CATS. Provides up to 8 months of tick and flea protection.  Does not need to be removed for bathing but more than once monthly baths will reduce effectiveness to 5 months.  Reaches maximum effect in 48 hours.
  • Scalibor collar (Deltamethrin) – DOGS ONLY over 12 weeks of age. Provides up to 6 months of tick protection.  Also kills fleas and repels flies and mosquitoes.  Takes 2-3 weeks to reach maximum effect.


  • Bravecto (Flurolaner) – DOGS ONLY over 6 months of age. Provides up to 90 days of protection against ticks and fleas. Maximum effect for fleas is 8 hours, ticks 48 hours.
  • Nexgard (Afoxolaner) – DOGS ONLY over 8 weeks of age.  Provides up to 30 days of protection against ticks and fleas.  Maximum effect for fleas is 8 hours, ticks 48 hours.  (This is not currently available on our online store, but Bravecto is)

Flea combs can be used to help remove ticks. Wash your pet’s bed frequently.

Some people use a topical spray, but don’t realize they should not use more than one insecticide or repellent.  Doubling the amount of anti-tick product, or using two at once, may cause toxicity problems.  DEET, found in many over-the-counter insecticides, is toxic to pets.  Any spray insecticide labeled for use on clothing should not be sprayed directly on pets.

Find and Remove the Ticks

The best way to find ticks on your pet is to run your hands over the whole body.  Check for ticks every time your pet comes back from an area you know is inhabited by ticks.  Ticks attach most frequently around the pet’s head, ears, neck, and feet, but are by no means restricted to those areas.

The safest way to remove a tick is to use rubbing alcohol and a pair of tweezers.  Dab rubbing alcohol on the tick, and then use the tweezers to take hold of the tick as close to the dog’s skin as you can; pull slowly and steadily.  Try not to leave the tick’s head embedded in the dog’s skin.  Don’t squeeze the tick because it might inject some disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, or other agents, into the animal during the process.  Risk of disease transmission to you, while removing ticks, is low but you should wear gloves if you wish to be perfectly safe. Do not apply hot matches, petroleum jelly, turpentine, nail polish, or just rubbing alcohol alone (the tick must be pulled out after application of alcohol) because these methods do not remove the ticks and they are not safe for your pet.

Once you have removed a live tick, don’t dispose of it until you have killed it.  Put the tick in alcohol or insecticide to kill it.

Watch/Test for Infection and Diseases

After you pull a tick off, there will be a local area of inflammation that could look red, crusty, or scabby. The tick’s attachment causes irritation.  The site can get infected; if the pet is scratching at it, it is more apt to get infected.  A mild antibiotic, such as over-the-counter triple antibiotic ointment can help, but usually is not necessary. The inflammation should go down within a week. If it stays crusty and inflamed longer than a week, it might have become infected and you should call your veterinarian.

Ticks can contract disease from a previous host that can then be transmitted to pets and humans.  Ticks can parasitize many different mammal species, birds, and reptiles.  Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis are probably the most common diseases transmitted by ticks on the west coast.  Ehrilichiosis is a rickettsial disease, and its progression from an acute to a chronic stage can be prevented by early treatment.  Babesiosis is a tick borne disease that causes red blood cell destruction and anemia in cats.  Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most prevalent rickettsial disease in humans.

Since ticks are just recently becoming more prevalent in the Portland area, we do not yet know the incidence of disease they may carry.  For this reason, if you find a tick on your pet we are now recommending that you schedule an appointment to test your pet for Lyme disease and ehrichiosis 2 months later so that if your pet does have this disease, we can institute treatment before they become symptomatic. 

While ticks can transmit diseases, they are usually nothing more than a nuisance.  The best approach is to prevent them from embedding, and once embedded, to remove them quickly.  As long as you stay on top of the situation, your pets should cruise right through the tick season with no problems.

Adapted from Veterinary Partner article, Authored by: Becky Lundgren, DVM

A Sunday filled with all things cat – by Briana, Client Care Coordinator and cat mom.

On Sunday, April 19th most Portlanders were probably outside enjoying the uncharacteristically warm weather, perhaps cheerfully discussing the drought over locally distilled spirits.  I, on the other hand, spent the day indoors along with several of my co-workers, and many local veterinary professionals attending the PVMA’s 2015 symposium on… *drum-roll please*… Cats!

Several well known veterinarians from the around the Country presented topics pertinent to the internet sensations and their well being both at home and in the clinic.  What I heard there helped me to better understand my own quirky kitties, and reinforced what I’ve been slowly learning over the past year.

Wesley and Molly - almost chummy!
Wesley and Molly – who here is really giving the kitty “stink eye”….

During Spring break of 2014 my boyfriend and I brought home a second rescue cat; an awesome little dude we call Wesley.  It’s a familiar story; we just wanted to look at the cats up for adoption…. but he was a charmer.  We convinced ourselves that our cat Molly (a sheltered Siamese) would eventually appreciate the company and everything would be peachy keen in like 2 months.  Our assumptions were incorrect; Molly did not share our assessment of him and integration has been a project, the first 8 months of which was chaos.  But, after a lot of trial and error, we’ve found some solutions that work well for both us and the cats.

The most valuable idea I took away from the symposium coincides well with my own recent experiences, and can be summed up into two words: Environmental enrichment.

It helps to think of your home as a zoo (perhaps not too difficult to imagine), and of your cats as the wild critters they truly are.  In captivity, our cats are restricted to an area that is a mere fraction of their natural home range – add another kitty to the picture and you’ve got some serious competition on your hands.  As both a predator and prey species whose primary enemies include primates and canids (yup, that’s you and Fido), your kitty’s position in the food chain can vary drastically from one second to the next.  Cats are wired to be acutely aware of their surroundings at all times – a change that seems minimal to us, such as a new food dish, may be initially perceived as a threat by your cat (often with video-worthy results).  On the other hand, the addition of a high perch can also make the difference between a fearful feline and a confident cat. For these reasons, it is important to pay special consideration to your kitties habitat.

With the addition of Wesley the last year has been a long balancing act of minimizing territorial disputes while optimizing space in our apartment.  Our furniture collection has expanded to include three tall cat trees (boosts kitty confidence and makes use of vertical space), a fancy water fountain, an additional litter box, and we started using puzzle feeders so they have to “hunt” at mealtime.  My cats’ interactions have improved greatly just in the last few months since our efforts to enrich their house (honestly, it really belongs to them) really took off – they play together and sometimes even show signs of affection in the general direction of each other.  Our next big project is to make interactive play time a part of our daily routine.

This might all sound like a lot of work, but it’s been quite fun and incredibly rewarding to see some of their more destructive behaviors transformed into appropriate kitty play; all we had to do was provide the right tools for them.  And you don’t need to spend a fortune either, pretty much everything your cat wants in life is a cheap DIY project; in the case of the empty grocery bag no assembly is required.

Our team embraces a kind and understanding approach to feline care, and this symposium confirmed that we were on the right track. The symposium was also great personal resource for me, and there’s boundless information on the web to help you better understand your cat as well.  For starters, check out the Indoor Pet Initiative (, an ongoing project of Ohio State University’s Veterinary College.  Also, have you checked out our previous posting on Catios??

Ultrasound, a window into your pet – by Kathy Sandifer DVM

Oswego Veterinary Hospital now offers ultrasound evaluation for our patients. Ultrasound is a pain free, noninvasive procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to produce a real-time moving image of your pet’s internal organs. The procedure allows our veterinarians to achieve a greater depth of detail that often complements information obtained from X-ray examinations. We are able to ultrasound the urinary tract, the abdomen, and also provide ultrasound-guided biopsies. Cardiac ultrasounds are performed by Dr Rausch, a board certified cardiologist who comes to our clinic on a regular basis.

Ultrasound is very useful to evaluate the bladder and kidneys. If a patient is experiencing frequent or inappropriate urination, bloody urine or signs of kidney disease, ultrasound can be used to identify stones, cystitis, cancer and a number of kidney problems. It can be used in sick or fragile patients when general anesthesia may be a risk.

Abdominal ultrasound allows full examination of your pet’s liver, gallbladder, spleen, adrenal glands, pancreas, kidneys, urinary bladder, and parts of the stomach and intestines. Ultrasound examination of these organs is crucial when a diagnosis depends upon seeing inside an organ, or when surgery or anesthesia would not be desirable. Abdominal ultrasound has become standard protocol for the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases, pancreatitis, and many types of cancer.

Using the ultrasound image as a guide, surgical biopsies can be obtained without major surgery and your pet can often go home the same day. An ultrasound is typically performed after blood tests, X-rays, and a physical examination indicates an underlying problem. Ultrasounds are typically not stressful for your pet and take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to perform. Everyone here at OVH is pleased and excited to be able to offer ultrasound examinations as part of our goal to keep your pet healthy.

Below is an ultrasound image of a bladder mass (tumor), on a sweet Scottie dog. The ultrasound technology enabled us to quickly and comfortably confirm the mass, and measure it, which will enable us to track how aggressive the mass is growing in future ultrasounds.

                                                       Click on image to enlargeBladder Mass

Boarding Tips For Pets – by Kat, Kennel Manager

boarding tips for pets

Let’s face it, most pets and their people don’t get excited about a boarding stay. However, with some helpful tips you can ensure that their stay is as comfortable and stress free as possible. Who knows, maybe after a few visits a boarding stay with us can be the next best thing to home.  Continue reading “Boarding Tips For Pets – by Kat, Kennel Manager”

Homemade Carrot Apple Treats

Cookbook - Recipes
Cookbook – Recipes

Because today is national Pet Obesity Awareness day a healthy snack is in order and these are so easy make. Diesel loves these cookies! He earns half of a homemade carrot apple treat if he does not pull on his leash during his daily walk. But you could also uses these healthy snacks as a reward or way to encourage your pet’s compliance for at home dental care as suggest by Dr. Amy Tongue. Also check out our other recipe from the OVH cookbook.  Continue reading “Homemade Carrot Apple Treats”