Got Shoes? Then Help Pet Haven!

Plymouth Heights Pet Hospital is partnering with Pet Haven of Minnesota to collect new or gently used shoes. As detailed below the shoes will be sent to developing countries and Pet Haven will recieve $10 for each bag of shoes. Along with the below drop off locations Plymouth Heights Pet Hospital will take donated shoes on Wednesday November 4 and Thursday November 5th between Noon and 2pm. Help us make this a successful campaign!


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A New Doctor for PHPH

We are very excited about a new addition to our team! A week from today, Dr Jennifer Mulcahy will start working at our hospital. She will be replacing Dr Robyn Corcoran who has moved on to work for the USDA. Dr. Mulcahy graduated from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. She began her veterinary career at a small animal practice near Atlanta, GA. She has been certified in veterinary acupuncture since 2009. More recently, she has been working for a large humane society near Detroit, Michigan. Her veterinary interests include complementary therapies, nutrition, and pain management.

Dr. Mulcahy recently moved back to Minnesota with her husband Mark, daughter Teagan, and son Calum. Their yellow lab Raine and cat Harry complete their family. In her free time she enjoys being with her family, reading, and crafts.

We are lucky to have found such a talented addition to our staff and look forward to introducing her to our clients and their pets.

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Dr. Corcoran Leaving Plymouth Heights

Robyn Corcoran will be leaving PHPH in early September. We appreciate all the fine work she has done here and will miss her greatly. We asked her to share some farewell thoughts with our clients:

“It was pretty difficult figuring out how to begin this, because it’s not easy to say goodbye to a place that has become like a second home and family. On September 12, with much sadness, I will be ending my time at Plymouth Heights Pet Hospital after four of the best years of my career. I’ve been offered a job opportunity with the USDA which will allow me to work from home and be more present for my son, who will be starting his own adventure this year at a new school. As hard as it was to think about leaving a practice which has remained the definition of a dream job for my entire time here, it was harder to turn down the opportunity to be there for my son as he faces the new challenges of middle school. I’ll be leaving behind not only an outstanding group of individuals I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work alongside of, but several years’ worth of wonderful relationships with so many pets and their special families. It’s been an honor to have been entrusted with their care and of all the things about clinical practice that I’m going to miss, it’s those relationships which will be missed the most.

It’s been a wonderful ride, thanks in large part to all of you. You will be missed.

Take care!

Dr. Robyn Corcoran

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So it appears we may have CIRD, commonly referred to as kennel cough, in our boarding facility again. It had been five weeks since we have had any reports of coughing dogs from our kennel (though we have continued to see coughing dogs from the Humane Society and other boarding kennels) so we were clear for a while. But as of today we have reports of three dogs that were boarding around August 6th that are now coughing. There have been no dogs that have been coughing while they’ve been boarding so we are unsure of exposure route. But this virus seems to be everywhere dogs gather and it could be around the Twin Cities until winter, possibly longer. Again this time finds us during a very busy time when so many people are vacationing before school starts up again.
So we are informing all our boarders being dropped off for this weekend at this point. We will see how the next few days go to decide on future boarding and daycare reservations. We understand how frustrating this is for our clients. Believe me, it’s just as frustrating for us. But when dogs can spread illness without showing any signs of disease, there is no way for us to guarantee your dog won’t be exposed to a virus. Right now there isn’t a kennel in town that could guarantee that.
We are doing everything in our power to minimize exposure risk to your dog. Our kennel staff is working hard to disinfect everything your dog comes in contact with in our facility. If you have further questions or concerns, please call our clinic for more information.

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CIRD/CIV Update #7

So we seem to have dodged several bullets over the 4th of July boarding period at PHPH. As you all know, we were very worried about a very contagious CIRD virus we had in our kennel just before the 4th, one of our busiest boarding times of the year. Thanks to the hard work and fastidiousness of our exceptional kennel staff, we can report we only had one dog, in over more than 30 that boarded with us during that time, that may have developed a cough. It wasn’t a classical case and the dog didn’t start coughing until 10 days after boarding with us so we’re not sure if it was true CIRD or not. Regardless, we feel confident we have cleared the CIRD respiratory virus for now. We opened up dog playtime for our boarders and day care dogs as of last week.Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time and your confidence in us to look out for you and your four legged friends.

That is not to say people don’t need to stay vigilant about the disease. We are probably seeing an average of one coughing dog a day at our clinic who was exposed to the CIRD virus either at a different boarding facility or elsewhere. This CIRD virus will probably be around for the whole summer so you still need to be careful where and what you expose your dog to through our warm weather.

There has still only been one case of the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) found in a St Paul shelter over two months ago. No other cases have been reported in the Twin Cities since then. Hopefully the whole Twin Cities will dodge that bullet. But you can be certain we will keep you posted with the latest accurate information regarding these diseases.

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CIRD/CIV Update #6

We received good news today. All three samples we submitted to the diagnostic lab came up negative for CIV. That means these cases we have seen are just nasty cases of kennel cough or CIRD and all should respond well to the medicines we have prescribed. We are very thankful to find out we did not have CIV in our boarding kennel and so far have not seen any more cases of coughing dogs from our facility. We are doing everything in our power to protect the dogs who will be staying with us over the 4th and in the near future. But we also know there are some nasty bugs still out there so recommend everyone remain careful in regard to where your dogs go this summer. Again, we will keep you posted if anything changes. Thank you for your support through these trying times.

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CIRD/CIV Update #5

Yesterday two dogs in our kennel started coughing. One was boarded for a week, the other for over 10 days. Both dogs are doing well other than the cough. Fortunately, both dogs were picked up today.  We are taking all the precautions we can including disinfecting everything our boarding dogs come in contact with. We are increasing walk time to minimize dog interaction. We have called all clients with reservations for the upcoming two weeks to alert them to the potential problem in case they wish to find an alternative option. We will be completely disinfecting sections of the kennel at a time which is where new boarders will stay. The insidious nature of the CIV is that dogs are shedding virus before they start coughing so kennels have no way of knowing if a boarder is potentially infectious by examination alone. We know of at least two other kennels with coughing dogs and this morning heard about a coughing dog that attends Humane Society classes.

We sent a CIV test in on the boarder that was coughing up mucous so we now have a total of three CIV tests pending. That dog had been vaccinated with everything including the available CIV vaccine which protects from the H3N8 strain. So there was no cross protection in his case. We should have those laboratory results in the next couple days and will keep you all posted. We are treating all patients as if this is CIV to avoid taking unnecessary chances. The Diagnostic Lab of the Veterinary Medical Center on the St Paul University campus is running the tests. If it confirms a positive CIV test, it will do further testing to identify what strain it is.

Regardless of CIV vs CIRD, this respiratory disease is spreading quickly and likely to be in the area for some time. The contagiousness of the virus, the weather conditions and the time of year when dogs are out and about will all make the elimination of the disease very difficult. Our recommendations to minimize exposure of your dogs to unknown dogs remain the same. Avoid dog parks and gatherings of dogs if possible. Please call our clinic if you have any questions regarding this disease or these recommendations.

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CIV Update #4

Things are becoming a little worrisome now. We saw one coughing dog Saturday that could be CIRD (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease or what used to be called kennel cough) but we could not elicit a cough from it. I saw two dogs this morning with classical CIV symptoms: progressive cough, lethargy and nasal discharge. We have submitted cultures on these dogs but we will not know the results for 2-3 days. We are treating them as if it is CIV with cough supressants and antibiotics.
One dog was boarded at local kennel, the other was not boarded but goes to the dog park by the Lake of the Isles frequently. So even if we are talking CIRD and not CIV, there are some nasty, contagious respiratory viruses out there and now is the time you should take extra precautions as to where your dogs go and what other dogs they are exposed to. Remember dogs with the CIV will shed virus before showing clinical signs of problems. So it’s not enough to just keep them away from coughing dogs. You want to minimize contact with dogs you do not know and gatherings of dogs.

The timing of this outbreak cannot be worse with July 4th holiday coming when all the surrounding kennels will be full. No boarding kennel will be able to guarantee that your dog will not be exposed to respiratory diseases. Again, there is no vaccine for the H3N2 CIV virus. The only goods news here is those reported cases of CIV here in Minnesota have responded well to treatment and recovered uneventfully.

We will keep you posted on the latest information at our facilities and the Twin Cities in general. You can sign up for this blog and it will be emailed to you whenever there is a new posting. We will have the results of those tests in a few days and will post them here. I truly hope not to be the first clinic in the Twin Cities to find CIV in the local dog population.

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CIV Update #3

There has been a case of the Canine Influenza Virus confirmed from a St Paul shelter this week. The dog has recovered uneventfully and tests on the other shelter dogs were negative. The Animal Humane Society has posted their information and action here. Everything seems controlled at this time. We have seen a few cases of CIRD (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease or what used to be called kennel cough) lately from dogs who have been boarded but still nothing resembling CIV. We are taking all precautions including examining coughing dogs outside so we don’t take a chance of contaminating our clinic or kennel. The tough part about CIV is dogs can shed virus before they start to show clinical signs of illness. The good news is all the dogs that have contracted the disease in Minnesota got over it with symptomatic care so the CIV we are seeing here does not appear to be as pathologic as the one the Chicago area had.

So our recommendations remain the same for now. The CIV has only been found in shelter dogs but it is here now in the Twin Cities so all dog owners must be extra vigilant to protect your pets. You can be sure all dog kennels and gatherings are well aware of the potential problem and are being as careful as they can to prevent viral exposure to your dogs.

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CIV update

There have now been confirmed cases of the H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in northern Minnesota. We received this notice today from the MN Board of Animal Health:

“Recent test results confirm that at least five Minnesota dogs were infected with a new strain of influenza virus called H3N2. All of the dogs were most likely exposed to this new strain of influenza when they visited the Lucky Dog Boarding and Training Center in Detroit Lakes. All of the dogs fully recovered and no new cases have been seen at the facility since April 25th.

The dogs began showing illness on April 7th. They all developed a cough, some ran fevers and some had a cloudy nasal discharge. The animals received various levels of veterinary care from Dr James McCormack at Detroit Lakes Animal Hospital depending on the severity of the illness.

The owner of the facility believes that the virus was introduced when a dog from Yorkville, IL, was brought to the facility on March 30th. The dog showed no signs of illness during the visit, but became ill with signs consistent with influenza shortly after it left. Yorkville is in the greater Chicago are where many cases of H3N2 influenza have been identified in dogs this spring.”

So there now have been cases of the CIV H3N2 in Minnesota but that outbreak now appears controlled. To reiterate information from our last post, the H3N2 strain is believed to have come from Asia. There is no vaccine to date for that virus but there probably will be in the near future. Our recommendation remains the same: be vigilant for any signs of upper respiratory disease in your dogs including coughing, nasal discharge, or lethergy. Infected dogs will shed virus before exhibiting clinical signs so it can be difficult to know which dogs could be potentially infected. The more exposure your dogs have to other dogs, such as dog parks, kennels, day care, dog shows, the greater the possibility of exposure. There have still been no cases reported in the Twin Cities and the Board of Animal Health will let us know if any cases arise in our area.

As a veterinary clinic and boarding facility, we are keenly aware of the clinical signs of the disease and watch all our patients and boarders carefully. We appreciate the faith you have in our doctors and our clinic and remain committed to minimizing risk to all of our animals. We will keep you updated on all the latest information and will make recommendations as needs arise. Please call us if you are concerned or if you see any clinical signs of problems with your dogs. So far it appears that treated early, life threatening risk is minimal with this virus. But this is still a potentially serious disease if left untreated so contact us if you are at all concerned about signs your dogs may be showing.



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