Animal Clinc of Kalispell - March 2021



A WRONG TURN GONE RIGHT The Story of an Unplanned Hiking Adventure

Despite our day not going quite as planned, we made the best of it and ended up having quite the adventure.

Adventuring is always fun, but it’s the unexpected journeys that make for the most fun experiences. J.R.R. Tolkien’s books are known for his characters’ grand adventures, and since Tolkien Reading Day takes place on March 25, I began thinking of one of my own unexpected journeys. When I was growing up in Wyoming, my family enjoyed backpacking and took quite a few trips. By the time I was 16, I’d gone on more hikes than I could count. One particular weeklong trip turned out fine but had a rocky start. My brother, dad, uncle, two family friends, and I decided to go backpacking on a Wyoming mountain trail we’d never been on before. However, because of everyone’s schedule at the time, we had to break up into two groups. My uncle, the two friends (who’d never been hiking before), and I started on one day, and my dad and brother planned to meet up with us the next day. When the day finally came, the four of us started on the trail, map in hand. We followed the map as closely as we could, looking for the distinct markers to stay on the correct path. At first, everything was as it seemed, but then we saw we would have to cross a creek. Once we reached the spot, though, we found ourselves in front of a rushing river, not a

creek. What’s more, we couldn’t see anything across the water that looked like a path continuing on the other side. Luckily, our trail

the lakes instead, having to bushwhack some of our way up there. The spot was gorgeous and the fishing was amazing. The lake looked like it had not been

turned up and followed the river, so we headed that way figuring we’d find a crossing. This was the first sign that things weren’t quite right.

visited by anyone before.

We set up camp for the night and woke up early enough to bushwhack the 4 miles west over the mountain so we could get to the campsite where we planned to meet up with my dad and brother. The six of us had a great time talking about our little adventure and laughed when my brother and dad told us we’d missed a critical point right at the beginning of the trail that had thrown us off. Despite our day not going quite as planned, we made the best of it and ended up having quite the adventure. I’ve always had an adventurous spirit and getting a little lost or ending up somewhere I didn’t expect to be is all part of the fun.

The trail led us up a quarter of a mile to a crossing, which allowed us to get to the other side and continue on the path that extended beyond that point. Our little group hiked a good couple of hours, maybe longer. All the while, our sense of unease was growing stronger. Nothing was feeling or looking right based on the map we had and what we’d heard about this trail before. At this point, we stopped and considered our options. We were an entire drainage east of where we were supposed to be. Consulting the map, we found there were a couple of small lakes not too far from our estimated location, and we decided to make that our destination. We didn’t want to backtrack to the trail we’d set off on, so we headed out toward

– Dr. Jevon Clark



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Sisters Living Th

Greetings everyone,

My name is Ziva and with me is my sister Elsa! Our birth mother is a corgi mini-Aussie and our birth father was a mixed heeler, so that makes us quite a mix too! We’re here to tell you all about our lives and our amazing parents, Connie and Bruce Colburn. Elsa and I are so excited that it’s our turn to talk about our family! Before Mom and Dad adopted us, they had a little Chihuahua mix named Buddy, who they rescued from the streets. Buddy had a hard life as a stray, and Mom and Dad even found out he’d been abused. At the time, Dr. Clark and his whole team took really good care of Buddy and made sure he had the best life he could despite his many health problems. Mom and Dad really loved Buddy, but he had a hard time getting close

Laugh More, Age Less WHY LAUGHTER IS GOOD FOR YOU As we age, we’re told to wear sunscreen, eat more vegetables, take vitamins, and even walk more — all in hope that our internal clocks will slow down and we will age better. But something as simple as laughter could actually be one of the easiest ways to slow the ticking clock of aging. Scientists have long known that laughter can be therapeutic and help us live longer. It has been shown to reduce wear and tear on our bodies and improve our relationships. A Norwegian study found that those who prioritized humor were more likely to live past 70 than those who didn’t laugh often.

to people. When he passed away nearly two years ago, they were really sad, and it took them a long time before they started thinking about adopting another dog.

It was just last year that they finally knew it was a good time to consider adopting again. They wanted a dog who was pet-and human-friendly, so they could have their grandchildren over without having to worry about scaring anyone. That’s when they heard about a breeder who recently had puppies become available: three females and four males (those were Elsa, my siblings, and myself)!

Mom says that when she saw us, she knew we’d be perfect for her family, but at the time they only thought about adopting me. It was a couple of weeks until I could leave my birth mom and live with

At a biological level, laughter can reduce tension in your muscles and activate a powerful stress-relief response from your brain by releasing dopamine. Just one chuckle may even improve your breathing and heart function! In fact, laughing can work wonders for the heart. One study showed that laughter therapy helped reduce the blood pressure and cholesterol levels of its participants. Their blood circulation improved, too. Studies have also found that regular laughter can help strengthen your immune system, and it has long-term benefits for those with respiratory conditions. In addition to your body, laughter is also good for your social life. (And we don’t mean that people will want to spend time with you if you have all the good jokes!) Throughout history, laughter has been an evolutionary sign of understanding. When there are language barriers, laughing together can create camaraderie and a tighter bond between people of different cultures. The dopamine release that comes with laughter aids in stress relief and creates powerful memories that can improve your mood and strengthen friendships. Of course, laughter has its downfalls, too. Laughing at someone else’s expense is detrimental to their health and can harm your relationships. So, stick to light jokes and actively seek shows, cartoons, or people who make you laugh. You’ll feel good, and your body will be pretty happy, too.

my new family when my soon-to-be human mom learned that Elsa had not been adopted yet. Afterward, I found out that she and Dad had always wanted two dogs

and this was a great opportunity! So, Elsa and I came to live with our human parents — we were really happy to be together!

Even though we’re littermates, Elsa and I are nothing alike. My sister is always full of energy and I’m a little





heir Fullest Lives

more on the calmer side — though, I do love to run laps around the yard as fast as I can too! At times, Elsa is too excited. I’ll be very content, spending time with Mom and Dad or

by myself, happily chewing on my chew toy when Elsa will run up and jump on me. Can you believe that? But, siblings will be siblings, and I love my sister very much. Being with Elsa since we were both born, you might think that we’re inseparable. At times, we can be. Whenever it’s especially chilly outside, Elsa and I will curl up

together for extra-cozy warmth. Outside, we also enjoy playing with sticks that we find. Mom says we look like those old chariot races humans did a long time ago because we pick up the same stick and go running around the backyard side-by-side with the stick in our mouths.

“At the time I was in vet school,” says Dr. Jevon Clark, “veterinarians started to recognize that cats were getting nasty skin tumors that were extremely locally invasive. They would invade, bone, muscle, and tissue and sometimes were not resectable.” These invasive tumors or sarcomas would appear where the cats had received vaccines. Many vaccines were administered around cats’ necks at the time because the extra skin there made the injections easier to give. However, some cats would develop injection-site sarcomas. These tumors were terribly invasive, and many times, veterinarians could not get rid of them completely, which, unfortunately, led to some cats having to be euthanized. For a while, many cat owners were hesitant to get their cats vaccinated because these sarcomas only seemed to appear when the cats received their vaccines. As time went on though, research was performed and data was collected that explained what was happening. Vaccines create small wounds on the body. Mild inflammation is a natural response to this. Yet, for a small population of cats, this inflammatory response isn’t so mild and an abnormal inflammatory response can trigger these tumors. These cats react to any sort of injection, not simply vaccines.

Other times though, we’re perfectly content to go about our daily business on our own. Sometimes, Elsa will want to go outside and I’m perfectly content to be inside.

Elsa also really likes snuggles. Whenever Mom and Dad are sitting on the couch, she’ll jump right up there with them and settle down in their laps. I like snuggling, but not as much as she does. I know that Mom and Dad like to have attention, so I lie down next to them with my head in their lap to let them know

I’m there. Then, once I make sure they’ve gotten enough attention, I’ll stretch out on the couch next to them. But, I will admit, when Elsa is getting attention from our parents, it’s only fair that I get attention too. I’ll always head into the room whenever I know she’s with them, and Elsa does that to me too — I suppose that’s what happens when you share a mom and dad with a sister. The two of us are really happy to be here with Mom and Dad, who make sure we are loved and fed and that our health is top-notch. Dr. Ball is our doctor, and she’s really wonderful. Elsa and I know that all the humans at the clinic work really hard to make sure we’re happy and healthy, and we always have a good time when we go. We might share a lot in our lives, but I’m happy that I can share such an amazing life with Elsa, filled with so many loving humans.

This prompted the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) to update their guidelines for vaccine delivery locations. The guidelines today require vaccines to be injected in the lowest possible parts of the body, such as the legs. This means that in the worst-case scenario, if a cat develops a non-resectable sarcoma we have the option to amputate a leg rather than euthanizing the cat. Fortunately, injection-site sarcomas are rare, meaning the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risk of injection-site tumors for cats. “In the 13 years I’ve been here, I’ve seen maybe four cases of injection-site sarcomas,” explains Dr. Clark. If your cat develops a lump anywhere on its body, whether at an injection site or not, we highly encourage having it looked at right away. If we catch it in its early stages, we can help prevent further damage.







Enjoying an Unexpected Adventure


The Easiest Anti-Aging Tactic? Laughter The 2 Sisters: Sharing Their Lives Together


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Don’t Ignore Cat Lumps

Meet This Life-Saving Rat From Cambodia


A metal detector can take 1–4 days to detect land mines in the war-torn landscapes of Cambodia. However, a Gambian pouched rat named Magawa can detect them in 20 minutes.

But where did Magawa come from? A Belgium-registered charity named Apopo trained Magawa in Tanzania as part of the program HeroRATs where after a year of training, the animals become certified. This program has been around since the 1990s, teaching animals how to detect land mines and tuberculosis. Magawa only works for a half-hour during the day, but as he nears retirement age at 7 years old, Magawa has sniffed out 39 land mines and 28 unexploded munitions in his career. His tremendous work has now been recognized worldwide. In 2020, the U.K. veterinary charity PDSA gave Magawa its gold medal for “life-saving devotion to duty, in the location and clearance of deadly land mines in Cambodia.” Over 30 animals have received this award so far, but Magawa is the first rat. “To receive this medal is really an honour for us,” Apopo’s chief executive, Christophe Cox, told the Press Association news agency. “But also, it is big for the people in Cambodia, and all the people around the world who are suffering from land mines.” Now that’s a real hero if we’ve ever seen one. Thank you, Magawa, for all your hard work, and we hope you have a long and happy retirement ahead of you!

Magawa’s ability to sniff land mines has been lauded as “truly unique,” as he potentially saves hundreds of lives every day. Yet, he weighs a mere 2.75 pounds and is only 28 inches long. While that’s larger than your average rodent, Magawa is still light enough to safely step over land mines without setting them off. That’s been amazing news for Cambodians. The land mine problem began during the civil wars of the ‘70s and ‘80s, causing over 64,000 casualties and creating 25,000 amputees since 1979.



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