Petersen Pet Hospital - October 2023

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Pets First Monthly

October 2023

THE FLEA FALLACY Why You Should Continue Using Preventive Medicine

Can you believe it’s already October? It’s wild how time flies by so quickly! During the colder months, it seems like everything slows down. The sun sets earlier, animals gather supplies to stay warm for the winter, and we hardly see bugs hanging outside. But there is one thing that doesn’t stop, no matter what season we’re in: fleas.

A common misconception many pet owners believe is that you can quit using flea preventives during the fall and winter months because of how cold it can get outside. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. If it’s above freezing outdoors, fleas and ticks can still latch onto your furry friends! That’s why it’s imperative to take preventive measures year-round.

high-traffic areas weekly. Sometimes, if there is a heavy infestation, I recommend hiring an exterminator to walk through your home. Now, if you go a week without seeing any fleas, that’s great — but don’t stop cleaning! Because the average flea cycle takes about three to four months, it’s best to continue checking your pets, vacuuming, washing bedding and clothes, and paying attention to high- traffic areas, even if you think the fleas are gone. Another important thing if you have cats or dogs as indoor pets is to put them on a flea preventive! While they may not venture outside, you do! When walking through grass or wooded areas, fleas can attach to your clothing and follow you inside your home. From there, they can lay eggs and cause more fleas to pop up — did you know that one flea can lay around 2,000 eggs each year? You definitely don’t want them in your home! So while the weather is getting cooler, please be on the lookout for fleas and ticks. If the temperature is above freezing, they can and will appear. If you would like recommendations on flea preventives, have any questions on reducing your chances of getting fleas in your home, or want to have your furry friend examined, please don’t hesitate to contact me and your friends at Petersen Pet Hospital! We will gladly help you with anything you need.

When I examine my patients, I take a flea comb and brush through the cat’s or dog’s fur. If I don’t find any fleas, pet owners take a sigh of relief. But if I do find fleas, fear can immediately enter their minds. Removing fleas is not easy — you have to do more than give your furry friend a bath and check for critters. You must clean your entire home and even have your other pets examined!

The live fleas you see on your pet account for a tiny part of the flea

population. There are thousands, if not millions, of flea eggs in your yard and potentially your home! Because of this, if you find a flea on your pet, be sure to put preventive medicine on them, then deep-clean your home. You’ll have to keep up a cleaning routine for about three to four months. Vacuum your floors twice a week to remove flea eggs from your carpets, wash your bedding, blankets, and curtains every week, and spray a flea preventive in

—Dr. Emily Saunders


Hi friends! It’s your buddy, Subway, here, and today, we are discussing wellness exams. These routine check-ups allow veterinarians to notice abnormalities in advance so they can treat and prevent other problems from occurring. On the outside, your four-legged companions can appear happy and healthy — my fellow felines are fantastic at this! But on the inside, they could have health issues you may not know about. To ensure conditions don’t worsen, it’s vital that you have your pets examined at least once a year. For my friends who are 8 years old or older, you want to have a wellness exam twice a year. Me and my canine best friend, Sam, go to our appointments. It’s an excellent way for humans to understand their pets’ health and behaviors better and make necessary changes so they can continue living their best lives. Now, you may be wondering what these wellness exams consist of. Luckily for you, I have tons of great information to share! When the humans at Petersen Pet Hospital conduct these exams for furry friends 7 years old or younger, they will recommend performing a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry service. This allows them to look at the red and white blood cells to see if there are any underlying infections or illnesses. The chemistry allows them to study your pet’s kidneys, electrolytes, and protein count to ensure everything works properly. Let’s Talk About Wellness Exams SUBWAY’S

Nena is a 9-year-old, domestic long-haired feline who has been battling diabetes for many years. Diabetes in cats can be very similar to humans. It is a condition where the body does not produce enough insulin (Type 1) or does not respond to insulin (Type 2). Glucose (sugar) is necessary to all cells in the body, and it is the main fuel that keeps it alive. In both conditions, the glucose cannot go into the cells, and therefore, the glucose level in the blood increases significantly. In cats, the most common is Type 2. This means their cells do not respond appropriately to their own insulin and will not allow the glucose to go where it is needed. There are a lot of factors that will influence the probability of a cat developing diabetes. Genetics will play a big role, but it is not the only thing. Obesity, increasing age, physical inactivity, and current medications can also help increase the risk. Nena was stable, but we wanted to know more about it and if we could improve her quality of life. Investigating Diabetes Treatment For Nena

There are many ways to monitor diabetes: spot checks, fructosamine, glucose curves in clinic and at home, etc. Glucose curves are one of the best methods due to how much information we can gather. Upon discussion with Nena’s owners, we decided to proceed with a home monitoring system used in human medicine: FreeStyle Libre (a sensor that lasts up to 14 days and monitors glucose constantly). Since the device is not specific for the veterinary field, there are a lot of considerations to be made, but Nena was a good candidate.

For our older furry friends, our veterinarians recommend conducting a CBC screening, chemistry, thyroid check, and urine sample. These tests will help

Perfect Pumpkin Dog Treats

During her first two-week trial, we realized her glucose was varying a lot. She would have high spikes and sometimes really low as well. During that period, Dr. Carmo tried to adjust her insulin a couple of times, but the results weren’t great. Then, we added a second round with the sensor and tried adjusting insulin again. Since Nena wasn’t responding well, and due to the different type of curve she was exhibiting, Dr. Carmo decided to change the type of insulin to one that is more stable for cats.

On the final days of the second sensor, the readings were more stable, yet we wanted to know more long term. Dr. Carmo applied a third and final sensor, where we were able to finally see that the new insulin was a much better option and caused steadier curves. This meant that we had less of the big variances seen on the previous insulin. Nena’s readings were still not perfect, but we now feel way more comfortable with her levels.

If you have a pet struggling with diabetes, please let us know so we can guide you on the best test and treatment options for them!

—Dr. Carmo


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3 Reasons 536 Was the Worst Year in Human History When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, it poured so much dust into the sky that the sun over Eastern Washington went dark. Ash drifted overhead, traveling into neighboring Idaho and forcing temperatures down by as much as 15 degrees F. Locals spent a few weeks scared and shivering under dull skies. They had no way of knowing it, but they were experiencing a tiny fraction of the horror humans felt back in 536 — a time that Harvard University historian Michael McCormick once called “the worst year to be alive.”


us determine if your pet has an undiagnosed disease process occurring. Different diseases are common in our older pets, so we need to conduct these screenings to ensure they’re in tip-top shape Catching underlying illnesses while in the early stages is crucial for your pet’s overall health because in dogs and cats 7 years old and

For decades, the year 536 was a historical mystery. Records showed that it was a terrible time, stricken by the triple threat of:

1. 2. 3.

Unexplained, unending darkness Unseasonably frigid weather

younger, 14% have conditions that need treatment. For pets 8 to 10 years old, that percentage jumps to 20%, and if pets are 11 years old or older, 40% have conditions that must be addressed. Your friends at Petersen Pet Hospital want the best for you and your furry companions! And one of the best ways they can assist you is by conducting a wellness exam. Please call the office today for more information or ask about their wellness profiles during your next visit!

Crop failures and famines

Those horrors and the economic and political instability they brought ravaged the globe from Ireland to China. Although 536 was arguably the worst year, things didn’t get better for more than a decade. In fact, they got worse in some areas! In 541, the Plague of Justinian — the first bubonic plague pandemic — appeared in Egypt and spread through Europe, killing roughly one-third of the continent’s population. For decades, archaeologists and historians have puzzled over the tipping point in 536. “What went wrong,” they wondered, “to make the sun go dark and trigger snow in summer?” It was a head-scratcher until 2018. That year, researchers finally solved the mystery with help from, of all things, a Swiss glacier! The glacial ice was riddled with volcanic glass. Further study revealed enormous volcanic eruptions in 536, 540, and 547 likely caused “The Dark Ages.” It wasn’t just metaphorically dark — it was literally dark thanks to ash blotting out the sun and coating people’s homes, skin, and clothing. Scientists have traced the 540 eruption to Ilopango, a volcano in El Salvador that’s currently inactive, but they’re still hunting for the source of the 536 eruption. As we write this, volcanoes in Iceland and Alaska are the most likely candidates.

Let your furry friend celebrate the fall season with these simple pumpkin dog treats!


2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tbsp Xylitol-free peanut butter

• •

2 large eggs

• •

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup canned pumpkin pureé

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

We’ve already survived a pandemic this century, so for everyone’s sake, let’s hope both regions stay quiet until at least 2100. We all deserve a break!


Preheat oven to 350 F and grease your baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients. The mixture will be dry and crumbly, so add 1 tablespoon of water to moisten the mixture and knead the dough. Add a tablespoon of water at a time while kneading until the dough is a thick but dry consistency. 3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out until it’s around 1/2-inch thick. Using cooking cutters, cut out individual shapes and place them on the baking sheet. 4. Bake for about 35 minutes or until hard. Let cool and serve!


Inspired by


1031 Kacena Road Hiawatha, IA 52233 319-743-0554

Inside This Issue

Mon–Fri: 8 a.m.–6 p.m. (Closed Fridays from 12:30–2:10 p.m. for team meetings) Sat: 8 a.m.–12 p.m. Sun: Closed


Cold Weather Doesn’t Stop Fleas!



Nena Gains a Renewed Quality of Life Subway’s Corner: Pet Wellness Exams





Perfect Pumpkin Dog Treats Step Into 536: ‘The Worst Year to Be Alive’



Lucca, the Explosive-Sniffing Dog






Sometimes, dogs are more than just a man’s best friend — they are heroes. When the Israel Defense Forces brought Chris Willingham, a Marine specializing in training military dogs, a small German shepherd and Belgian Malinois mix puppy in 2006, he knew she was special. Willingham named her Lucca, and in 2008, the pair deployed for their first tour in Iraq, where they spent countless hours together searching for improvised explosive devices or IEDs. When Lucca smelled a bomb, she’d lie down and wait for Willingham, an action they repeated so many times that the pair seemed to read each other’s minds. In fact, the duo became so successful that when platoons suspected they were heading into especially dangerous territory, they requested the team by name. After returning from their second tour in Iraq, Willingham received orders that the Marines were restationing him at the Marine Security Guard School. But before he had to leave, he was allowed to choose a new handler for Lucca. Willingham chose Corporal Juan Rodriguez, whom he sensed was the perfect match for Lucca. And he was right.

Lucca and Rodriguez picked up where she and Willingham left off until one day in 2012. The pair were four hours into their patrol in southern Afghanistan when Lucca located her second IED of the day. However, when she moved closer to the device to lie down — it exploded. Rodriguez quickly ran to Lucca, where he discovered she had lost one of her front paws in the explosion. He applied first aid, a tourniquet, and called for a medevac, never leaving her side. She had suffered burns to her neck and torso, and doctors had to amputate her front left leg. However, in less than a month, Lucca was back to running around with the same spirit as before her injury but was now retired from her day job. She was reunited with Willingham and lived the rest of her days with him and his family peacefully until her passing in 2018. Lucca led more than 400 patrols during three combat tours in her career. She found 40 confirmed insurgents and countless explosives, and she never had a single human casualty during her six years of service.

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