Welcome to our blog

For the birds


This is Mamacita, a pigeon with deformed legs that was rehabilitated by a licensed local wildlife professional. She’s now living large in a very loving home here in Gloucester. Like many birds, she’s got plenty of character and doesn’t need to work hard to make you smile! She’s fortunately very easy to work with, to the point that you get the sense she understands you’re there to help. Mamacita muy bonita!

1 Comments

Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
March 29th, 2012

Posted in:

Three strikes for the online pharmacy community


We had a bad day today with online pharmacies. One client came in with Frontline Plus she had recently ordered, but it had all the obvious hallmarks of a counterfeit product. The logo and logo colors were wrong, it had an expiration date (and real Frontline Plus never expires), and it had instructions to apply it every two weeks instead of every four.

Next, I received an email from a woman who purchased a heartworm medication for her dog online and was worried it could be counterfeit. I had never heard of the product, and after some research it turns out it’s an Australian product that is being sold without a prescription to people in the U.S. I had no way of letting her know if the product was authentic, and I let her know that I had to be suspect because legitimate online pharmacies in our country request a prescription before dispensing heartworm medication. And this brings me to the third example . . .

A client came in with their dog for a heartworm test today because we couldn’t approve a refill for the heartworm pills without having a recent heartworm test result on file. An online pharmacy had contacted us last week for permission to fill the heartworm medication prescription for this owner, but we declined noting that we would only be able to approve it once the test was performed. As it turns out, the online pharmacy had sent the medication to the owner anyway! We called that company to ask what happened, and they said a specific employee at our hospital gave verbal approval over the phone to fill the prescription. This is disheartening because we only approve such prescriptions in writing, and that employee (who reliably denies giving verbal approval) knows and follows our online prescription policy appropriately.

That’s three strikes for the online pharmacy world in one single workday. Not encouraging.

If you’re worried you may have received a counterfeit medication, report it with the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378. Regarding the pharmacy that mailed the heartworm pills to our client without a prescription, I’m off to lodge a complaint with the FDA. Should be interesting!

0 Comments

Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
March 28th, 2012

Posted in:

Canine flu: answers to frequently asked questions


Who: dogs can catch their own strain of the flu (H3N8) which is highly contagious and rapidly spread through aerosolized respiratory secretions; young puppies and sick or elderly dogs with other diseases tend to be hardest hit when exposed.

What: symptoms include a combination of coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever and tiredness but can progress to fatal hemorrhagic pneumonia; 80-90% of exposed dogs show symptoms and 8% of dogs that develop pneumonia do not survive (smooshed nosed breeds like Pugs are particularly at risk).

When & Where: contact with other dogs or to contaminated surfaces (primarily indoors) increases the chance of exposure; travel to areas of the country where H3N8 is endemic also poses greater risk (it has already been documented in 38 states, including Massachusetts).

Why: the horse H7N7 influenza virus jumped species to create H3N8 in dogs (which was first discovered in 2004 following an outbreak of severe respiratory illness at a Greyhound racing facility in Florida in which 1/3 of the dogs died).

Moving forward: although canine influenza hasn’t yet reared it’s head here on the North Shore, a few regional boarding facilities have started requiring the H3N8 vaccine; learn more at www.doginfluenza.com.

0 Comments

Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
March 21st, 2012

Posted in:

The Case of the Flying squirrel


We receive a fair amount of injured wildlife cases from the public and sometimes from licensed rehabilitators. These critters show up in need of triage and treatment to help get them back on their feet in preparation for release or for entry into a rehab program. They don’t all make it, but they’re given an exam and, when the prognosis is favorable, treatment they need to help address their issues.

This young flying squirrel was found behind a building stuck to a glue trap that was originally placed in someone’s attic. He was released from the sticky pad, but the skin and soft tissues on his feet had unfortunately become too damaged, partly because he was chewing at them from discomfort and/or in an attempt to free himself. We did the humane thing and sent him peacefully on his way.

4 Comments

Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
March 3rd, 2012

Posted in: