Lucerne Veterinary Hospital Blog

Canine Influenza: An Update

canine influenza

Two years ago, a novel strain of the canine influenza virus alarmed the boarding facilities and animal shelters of Chicago by its rapid spread through the canine community. Veterinary hospitals saw increased numbers of dogs with high fevers, coughing, and sneezing. 1500 dogs became ill within 2 months, with 8 fatalities from pneumonia. Since the 2015 Chicago outbreak, there have been a few small outbreaks and a smattering of cases in several states.  As of last month however, there is a new outbreak happening in eight states in the southeastern US, which seemingly stemmed from a dog show in Florida.


posted in:  Pet Health

Memorial Day Pet Safety Tips

memorial day

Sizzling hamburgers on the grill, piles of golden corn-on-the-cobs glistening with butter, and the clamor of children splashing in the pool under the warm glow of the sun. Memorial Day is the time we commemorate our fallen servicemembers, but it is also a great occasion to gather with friends and family and spend some time outdoors. Festive situations like these, however, are not always the safest of times for pets. Avoid these potential dangers to keep your pets safe during this Memorial Day holiday.


A Relaxed Cat is a Happy Cat! Reducing Your Cat’s Stress for Vet Visits


Cats are excellent predators, but they are also prey for many species in nature, so they tend to hide signs of illness until they are no longer able to. This means you may not be able to tell when your cat is becoming unhealthy, and is why a yearly exam (or twice-yearly, for older cats) is so important to his or her well-being. In addition, regular vaccines and dewormings are important for cats, who may be exposed to infectious diseases and parasites, some of which can be transmitted to humans.

Vet Visits

We all know it can be stressful to get a cat to the veterinarian’s office — SO stressful in fact that we (consciously or subconsciously) avoid doing it. We’re here to tell you we understand, and want to work with you to help make annual exams much easier on both of you. Continue reading for tips on how to decrease the stress associated with a vet visit for both you and your cat.


Holiday Hazards: Keep your pet safe this festive winter season

holiday hazards

Red and green lights twinkle on evergreen branches, gently intertwined with shimmering silver tinsel. The aroma of chocolate chip and gingerbread cookies wafts lazily through homes bustling with excited children. The holiday season is replete with colorful decorations and delicious foods, but it is important to remember that this time of year can present special hazards for pets. Follow these tips so you can enjoy the holiday at home with your loved ones instead of at the emergency room.


My Dog Ate My Stash: Marijuana Toxicity Revisited


Glassy-eyed, stumbling, and afflicted with a sudden case of the munchies: while this may describe your neighbor’s teenage son, this is also becoming an increasingly accurate description of the family Golden Retriever. With the recently-approved referendum to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the state of Maine, we may soon see a sharp rise in the incidence of marijuana toxicity. In states which have previously legalized marijuana, the number of accidental exposures by pets has greatly increased. In light of the increased availability of these potentially mind-altering drugs, we will revisit a previous blog post discussing what you need to know about the effects of marijuana in pets.


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posted in:  Pet Emergencies  |  Pet Health  |  Toxins

Porcupine Quills: Myths and Facts

porcupine quills

You have just changed into your pajamas, and yawning, you open the door to let Ruby in after she has finished her eliminations for the night. You are horrified to discover, however, that your once sleek pointer is now sporting a new beard made of black and white spines. What should you do next?

As long as porcupines and dogs have been roaming this continent together, there have been many old wive’s tales surrounding quills. Test your quill knowledge and determine which of the following are true, and which are myths.


posted in:  Pet Emergencies  |  Pet Health

Saving a Life through Blood Donation

Illustration of dogs blood donation flat design concept with icons elements

Buddy is just another happy-go-lucky chocolate Labrador until one day he collapses on a hike. He is rushed to the hospital where a bleeding tumor on his spleen is discovered. Midnight is a tiny stray kitten who is very weak from blood loss due to a heavy flea burden. Duke is a young beagle who has just been struck by a car chasing a squirrel across the street.

What do all of these patients have in common?

They all have had their lives saved by blood donors.

Blood donation is a safe and universal procedure performed worldwide to save the lives of sick and injured pets. We are currently looking for a small number of dogs and cats from the community to join our blood donor program. Read on to see if your pet meets the qualifications to save a life. Continue…

Poisons in our Pantries: Common household foods you didn’t know could harm your pet

Chart of poisons for dogs.

We all know that chocolate is toxic to our furry companions, but did you know that something as seemingly harmless as a raisin or even a stick of gum can be deadly? Read on to discover more household foods which, while are enjoyed by humans safely, may pose a real threat to our feline and canine companions.


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posted in:  Toxins

Emergency First Aid Care: Part 2

emergency first aid

What can you do in the event of a pet emergency? This entry is a continuation from last week’s emergency first aid article. Last week we addressed traumatic injuries, toxins, and seizures.

Eye Injuries

If you notice your pet’s eye has been dislocated from its socket and the lids can no longer close over the eyeball (known as a proptosis), make sure to keep the eye moist by applying KY jelly or contact lens saline solution before bringing her to your veterinarian. This is an emergency that requires immediate surgery. If your pet has received an irritant in her eye, flush it for 15 minutes with contact lens solution or running water, and monitor closely for any persistent discomfort. Do not remove any foreign bodies that may be impaling the eye. Use an e-collar if you have one available to prevent your pet from traumatizing her eye. Be sure to bring your pet to your veterinarian right away, as the eye is a fragile organ. Severe ocular injuries may require care by a board-certified ophthalmologist.

Heat Stroke

Signs of heat stroke include excessive fatigue, panting, or collapse after spending time in a hot environment. If your pet is experiencing distress after exercise in hot weather or being confined in a very warm environment such as a car, immediately remove your pet from the hot surroundings to a cool, shaded area. Bring down your pet’s temperature with cool water and place a fan on her, then bring her to your veterinarian. Do not use ice water, as this can cause the superficial vessels in your pet’s body to constrict, thereby retaining heat and delaying cooling.

Allergic Reaction

It is not uncommon for a dog to experience an allergic reaction after, for example, having been stung by a bee or bitten by a spider. When this happens, you may observe your dog’s muzzle and face swelling up, or hives developing over her flanks. Benadryl can be very useful for these scenarios, but make sure to contact your veterinarian for dosages and guidance before administering medications to your pet.

Emergency First Aid: In Summary

  • Even before an emergency occurs, keep a list of facilities close to you that provide emergency services, along with directions.
  • If possible, it is also a good idea to set aside funds to be available should you ever be in this situation.
  • A first aid kit can also be invaluable (see our First Aid blog for recommendations)
  • Emergency first aid is important, but when an emergency occurs, the most important thing will be to transport your pet to an emergency facility as soon as possible. Despite how panicked you are, however, drive carefully– crashing your car will not help your pet receive care any sooner!

If you have any doubts as to what constitutes an emergency, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian or nearest emergency facility for guidance.  We will do everything we can to help you get the care your pet needs as quickly as possible.

Emergency First Aid: What to do before arriving at the hospital


It can be quite distressing to witness your pet experiencing an emergency. The most important thing you can do is to bring your dog or cat to your veterinarian as soon as possible to maximize the chance of recovery. In this article, we will discuss some actions that you can take for certain situations before you are able to transport your pet to the hospital.


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posted in:  FIrst Aid  |  Pet Emergencies  |  Pet Injury Treatment  |  Toxins
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