MPH Blog

Posts for category: Pet Safety

By Morena Pet Hospital
September 16, 2014
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: Pet Food Recall  


As a reminder to all pet owners, we recommend you stay informed about your pet's brand diet.  Please refer to our blog Pet Food Recalls: Resources Every Pet Owner Should Know for important resources and recall alerts that every pet parent should know.  

Mars Petcare US has announced a voluntary recall of its Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food that may contain small metal fragments.  Included in this recall are the 15-pound bags sold at Dollar General stores in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana with associated lot code 432C1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC barcode and a Best Before date of 8/5/15 as well as the 55-pound bags of the Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food are now being recalled from Sam's Club stores in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio with associated lot code 432E1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC barcode and a Best Before Date of 8/7/15. 

The affected bags were produced in one manufacturing facility and shipped only to Dollar General and Sam's Club retailers the company says. Mars Petcare reports in a company release that metal fragments may have entered the packages during the production process, but are not embedded in the food itself. The facility production line has been shut down until the issue is resolved.

Pet owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-800-305-5206 or visit

Other 2014 Recalls to date include: 

Animal & Veterinary: Pet Food Recall Products Archive List.  U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

By Natalie Kushner
August 04, 2014
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: ticks   tick  
You’re planning a family camping vacation in NorCal and want to bring your family pet along for the trip. Or perhaps, you’re going for a brisk run in the canyon this morning and want to your dog to get some exercise.  Or maybe you’re thinking of purchasing a house with a large yard and lots of trees to provide shade for Sparky to roam outside for a while.
So many pet owners in San Diego make all the preparations, but are unaware of the danger hiding beneath fallen leaves, within high grass and in thick brush: ticks.
Ticks are ectoparasites, or skin parasites, that feed on the blood of a variety of animals including dogs, cats, horses, cattle, reptiles, rodents and other small mammals.  Ticks in the past have been known to most-heavily populate the northern and eastern regions on the United States, but more recently some tick species have migrated to other regions including southern California preferring warmer climates. The most prevalent of these species include the American dog tick, Western blacklegged tick and Brown dog tick, found in every corner of the world.
Depending on the species of tick, they can carry a ton of disease. Ticks are not born infected; instead they pick up diseases by feeding off wild creatures. Through blood transmission, ticks can pass on potentially life-threatening diseases to people and pets, sometimes feeding for hours or days. An engorged, female tick can weigh up to 600 times heavier and lay up to 3,000-6,000 eggs at a time.
If that wasn’t enough to upset your lunch, these blood-suckers can be carried into your home, crawling up walls and living inside cracks of plaster, ceilings, in attics, or inside a dog kennel.  Did I mention that ticks carry disease to humans as well? Tick bites can result in diseases that cause aches, chills, fever, rashes, lesions, paralysis and death in people.
For our animal friends who are less likely to tell you they’ve been bitten by a tick, the threat is the worse.
Lyme disease received an influx of media attention in the 1980s, but it does not manifest itself in dogs the way it does in humans. Instead weeks or months after a bite, animals begin to develop arthritic-like symptoms, and if untreated kidney damage can occur. Cases of Lyme disease in San Diego County are rare, only 1 out of 300 pets tested positive for the disease this year according to information gathered by CAPC, the Companion Animal Parasite Council. The disease is much more prevalent in regions of northern California.
More alarming are the statistics for the increasing presence of Ehrlichiosis, another tick-borne disease which inhabits and destroys white blood cells, and can result in abnormal bleeding and inflammation, neurological issues, kidney failure and paralysis in dogs. Ehrichiosis was first noted in military dogs returning from service in the Vietnam War, and since then CDC estimates a slight increase in reported cases in humans from 2000 to 2008. A CAPC report found this year 1 out of 42 dogs have tested positive for the disease in San Diego County, representing 14% of all cases reported in California.
Cats are also at risk to tick-borne disease, mostly outdoor cats able to roam through brush, tall grass, or wooded areas. Ticks can transmit several diseases to cats including Babesia, Cytauxzoonosis and Mycoplasma with varying symptoms such as fever, lack of appetite, jaundice and anemia. Ticks carried into a home by cats can still transmit disease to humans after feeding off of their pets.
The best way to prevent pets from being infected with these diseases is to prevent the tick from biting. Fipronil, otherwise known as Frontline, is a topical solution applied to the skin that discourages ticks from staying on the pet. Selamectin, or Revolution, is labeled to control the American dog tick only. A newer product called Vectra 3D, wards off ticks by keeping them off of the skin and begins killing certain species in one hour, with a total-kill of all tick species in 24 hours.
Certain products, including Frontline for DogsRevolution for Dogs and Vectra 3D, are not to be used on cats and can be fatal. Currently, only products containing etofenprox, fipronil, and flumethrin are approved for use on cats. Because cats are more sensitive to pesticides, it’s better to limit a cat’s outdoor time and check all animals thoroughly for ticks by running your hands down the pet’s body. The veterinarians at Morena Pet Hospital can help you pick which product is right for your pet, but make sure to read all information and packaging when purchasing any tick prevention product.
Since no product is 100% effective all of the time, if you do find a tick on your pet, they can be removed with rubbing alcohol and tweezers, taking extra care to make sure you do not squeeze or twist the body of the tick and that you remove the entire head of the tick as well.  Make sure the tick does not transmit any disease to you during removal. Any “tried and true” methods of tick removal involving turpentine, nail polish, petroleum jelly or open-flame matches need to stay in the 1900s and NOT be used on an animal.
If it sounds complicated, it’s because it actually is, and tick removal is a task best accomplished by a veterinarian.  If you suspect your pet has been exposed to ticks, or bitten by a tick, contact the staff of Morena Pet Hospital right away.

Current Advice on Ectoparasite – Tick Control.
CDC – Tick Borne Diseases.
CDC - Statistics and Epidemiology, Annual Cases of Ehrlichiosis in the United States.

ASPCA – Cat Care – Ticks.

By Morena Pet Hospital
April 06, 2014
Category: Pet Safety


We are no strangers to the traumas that may occur during training exercises with your pet.  We don’t claim to have seen it all, but we have seen enough (hit-by-cars, rope burns, leash injuries) to warrant caution when choosing your pet’s training equipment. 

Although one of the hottest selling pet products in recent years, you may be surprised to learn that retractable leashes have also drawn much criticisms from the veterinary profession.  According to a recent article on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), communities have considered trying to ban the devices, and some pet-friendly businesses and dog-related events discourage owners from using them.  Even most puppy training classes and behaviorists require you to use a standard 6 ft. leash in class because they give you more control over your dog, keep your dog at a manageable distance, and it is relatively easy to use especially during the early learning stages.

Use caution when using products such as retractable leashes, prong collars, choke collars.  Improper use of these training mechanisms can be very problematic for both you and your pet. 

Teaches dog to pull on leash.

Having your dog on a retractable leash, allows them too much freedom especially if used for training.  Your dog may not learn that there are pressure restrictions while being on a retractable leash, allowing your dog to pull even harder.

No control

Many times it also puts the handler in a position of constantly being reactive instead of proactive on the walk.  A dog may be allotted too much leash and for whatever the reason, run into the road with oncoming traffic or even fight with other animals before the owner has time to retract the leash. 

Referring back to our previous article, Dog Training Part One: How to Choose the Right Collar and Leash, you must take on the role of the pack leader and train your dog to view you as the one in charge.  A dog that thinks that he/she makes decisions AND that he/she is entitled to unlimited space and freedom is a dog that will never recognize you as a leader, which has the tendency to cause greater behavioral issues down the line.

Easy to break

The cables aren’t infallible, especially for use with strong, energetic breeds. Always check your gear for bites or rips before walks. During training exercises, practice calling your dog back a lot, so it works in an emergency.  If all else fails, make a game out of it to try to get your dog to chase you should he brake off his leash.  Remember, to have your pet microchipped or use a GPS locating collar for instances like these.

 May cause injuries to both pets and people if not used properly. 

The most common injuries reported are muscular injuries (such as neck strain or sprain) or more severely, a cervical intervertebral disc herniation from the pet being yanked back with the leash (DeGioria, 2014).  To prevent such occurrences, always use a back-attachment harness when using retractable leads, never a prong collar, head collar, flat collar, or front-attachment harness, because of the damage they can inflict on your pet.  It is also possible for the pet to be entangled in the leash cord or ingest the cord, both of which may cause even further harm to your pet.

People certainly aren't immune to injury, either. Manufacturers warn that if used improperly, a suddenly yanked retractable leash can cause people to fall or sustain friction burns or get fingers/hands tangled in the cord itself.

With so many options available nowadays (from traditional leashes to harnesses and gentle leaders), it is no wonder the immense amount of time one can spend in the pet aisle searching for the best collar and leash option for you and your pet. 

Please refer to our previous blog articles listed below for training tips and recommendations for collars/leashes or contact our office directly for specific recommendations for your pet based on his/her medical and breed background to ensure your pet’s safety and happiness.

Dog Training Part One: How to Choose the Right Collar and Leash

Dog Training Part 2: How to Leash-Walk Your Dog


DeGioria, Phyllis, Injuries, Behavioral Problems Linked to Retractable Leashes, The Vin News Service. March 27, 2014.


By R. deLeon-Mims
December 22, 2013
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: Holiday   Amaryllis   Holly   Mistletoe   Pine   Poinsettia  

This holiday season as we’re hosting guests and decorating our homes we should keep in mind while decorating our dwellings with greenery or accepting floral gifts, be aware of the potential for toxicity that festive plants can have for pets.



The Amaryllis contains Lycorine and other noxious substances, which cause salivation, gastrointestinal abnormalities (vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain), lethargy, and tremors in both cats and dogs. The bulb of the plant is reputed to be more dangerous than the flowers and stalk.



In dogs and cats, consumption of Holly leaves and berries causes gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and/or diarrhea and lethargy.


Decorative Pine Trees

There are a variety of pine trees that have the potential for causing toxicity, including the Australian, Norfolk, and Norfolk Island Pine. Additionally, the water used to nourish a pine tree can be quite noxious. Bacteria, molds, and fertilizers can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few laps.



Consumption of mistletoe berries or leaves can cause severe gastrointestinal, cardiovascular (low blood pressure, low heart rate), and neurologic (collapse, unusual behavior) signs.



This plant has an over exaggerated bad rep for being toxic to our pets.  Though we shouldn’t be overly worried, poinsettias do contain a latex-like sap that causes oral irritation and vomiting.


All in all, the best way to keep your pets safe from potentially harmful plants this season is prevention.  Try to keep pets separate from areas where these plants are in your home, or you may opt to forgo keeping these plants in your home this season.  In any case, if your suspect that your pet may have ingested a plant that is toxic or anything harmful for that matter, please contact our office immediately.  Also, the ASPCA has a Poison Hotline you can contact at (888)426-4435 for any poison related emergency.


Have a safe and happy holiday!




By R. deLeon-Mims for Morena Pet Hospital
November 16, 2013
Category: Pet Safety


In response to recent concerns over the heartworm, flea and intestinal parasite prevention Trifexis, we have an excerpt from a statement from Elanco, manufacturers of Trifexis:

November 11, 2013

Since the product came to market in January 2011, all reported potential adverse events have been reported to the FDA and appropriately investigated.  There is no link established between product use and death.

We take the safety of our products very seriously and thoroughly investigate potential concerns related to product use, including the cases explored by WSB-TV.  In the instance of the three litter mate puppies, the investigation is ongoing, but based on the information we have received, there are multiple other factors associated with the unfortunate death of these puppies.  Specifically, via necropsy, all were diagnosed with myocarditis, and inflammation of the heart muscle.  It is noteworthy that with more than 50 million doses of Trifexis dispensed in the U.S. alone, there have been no breed-specific trends or patterns with a similar familial type response as seen in this case.

In the older dog, the pet’s medical history suggests the probability of conditions that were present even before the dog’s first dose of Trifexis, including a potential mass in the animal’s lungs suggested by X-ray.

These data suggest it is unlikely that Trifexis was the cause.  Further, the attending veterinarians have indicated other factors were involved.

If you have any further concerns about the use of Trifexis in your pet, or  suspect that your pet may be having a reaction, please contact our office immediately!