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Companion Animals

Laura White with sled dogs at the 2020 Iditarod Race
Winter 2021

No pathologist needed: an Iditarod blog

When a colleague contacted me in fall 2019 asking if I wanted to participate as a pathologist in the 2020 Iditarod, I didn’t really know what to expect. But I knew it sounded like something I wanted to do.

The race involves teams of sled dogs running approximately 1,000 miles in 10 to 14 days. Typically, more than 50 veterinarians are stationed at about two dozen checkpoints to monitor and care for the animals. Among these veterinarians are one or two veterinary pathologists who are there to do a postmortem examination, called a necropsy, in case a dog dies on the trail. … » More …

man with puppy
Summer 2019

Medicine that lands on all fours

Pets can be a vital anchor for people caught in the slow-motion disaster of homelessness. In Spokane and Seattle, Washington State University nursing and veterinary medicine students work together with the University of Washington and nonprofit partners to deliver vital care to both homeless people and their animal companions. » More ...
Cat in pet carrier begin carried away from a flood
Summer 2018

Prepare your pets and livestock for disasters

Disaster strikes not only people, but also their pets and livestock. Be ready for disasters by making plans for your animals, using these tips from Ready.gov.

Read more about animal evacuation during disasters in “Bug out!

Make a Plan

If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured—or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors.

Create a buddy system in case you’re not home. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals.
Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets.

Find pet friendly hotels along your … » More …

Fire threatens horses in pen during California fires. Photo Eric Thayer
Summer 2018

Bug out!

A scrawled note was stuck to the door of the clinic. “All animals left here have died,” it said. “We have buried them for you. I have no way of expressing my grief.” The note was signed by the vet whose clinic was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

That note is a sad reminder that being prepared for a disaster is key to surviving storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and whatever else might come crashing down upon us—and our animals.

That’s why Cynthia Faux says, “If I have 15 minutes to evacuate in front of a fast-moving fire, I don’t want to spend 10 of those looking … » More …

Winter 2017

Reconsidering health

Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates proposed that four basic personalities were driven by excess or lack of bodily fluids, the “humors.” Discredited by biochemistry, we may consider the idea humorous, but Hippocrates’ theories began a centuries-long consideration of temperaments and personality in psychology and philosophy.

Other ideas of human health were first spurned and then accepted. Germ theory, the thought that many diseases are caused by microorganisms, was treated with disdain when it was proposed in the sixteenth century. It didn’t receive its due until nineteenth-century experiments by cholera researcher John Snow and chemist Louis Pasteur, among others, proved germ theory’s validity.

Even today we continue … » More …

Winter 2017

Dog gone day

Our boy Mic’s symptoms were so subtle and their onset so gradual we didn’t initially see them. In fact, our other dogs noticed them first.

Mic, a Pembroke corgi then 12, had always embodied good “dog manners.” He’d never met a dog who didn’t like him. Suddenly, he was enraging his packmates. We sympathized; his nighttime barking was fraying our nerves, too.

A number of vet visits and lab tests revealed nothing, and Mic continued to decline. But when his spatial perception deteriorated, we realized he was acting like some elderly people and concluded, almost tongue-in-cheek, he had “doggy dementia.”

Turns out we were right.

» More …

Winter 2016

Prevention of cruelty to animals

A teenaged Marvin Mackie ’63 DVM was working all summer on the family farm at the end of the rail line in Buhl, Idaho, wondering what to do with his life.

“One day I saw a cloud of dust coming down the gravel road. It was the veterinarian and he was going to go save an animal. And the light came on.” Off Mackie went, first to the University of Idaho for his undergraduate degree, and then next door to Washington State University for his doctorate of veterinary medicine.

Mackie ended up in southern California, where he loved the weather and found lots of work. … » More …