Many healthy people are still walking, biking, working or otherwise spending time outdoors and some are experiencing symptoms of bad air such headaches, cough, itchy eyes and more. Can pets experience this, too?

Chief medical officer and veterinarian Jason Nicholas of Preventive Vetof Portland said Tuesday that pets who already have respiratory issues, including cats with asthma or dogs with collapsing tracheas, are most at risk of complications from poor air quality. Also, elderly pets or young kittens or puppies can also feel the affects, as well as snub-nosed cats and dogs (otherwise known as brachycephalic breeds including pugs, French bulldogs, and Persian cats).

If owners notice pets having difficulty breathing, increased coughing or a roaring bark unlike their usual bark (in dogs), it might be time to consult a vet. To help protect pets against the effects of unhealthy air quality, Nicholas recommends owners take these precautions:
  • Keep your pets indoors as much as possible. Dogs will need breaks outside but limit the time and do not engage in strenuous activities or play. Keep cats indoors.
  • Keep windows closed if possible and use fans to circulate the air. Nicholas believes an air purifier can be helpful if the filters are properly cleaned or changed. Also, any filters on air conditioning systems or heat pumps should be changed during hazardous air events and again once the possibility of bad air has passed.
  • Hydrate your pet as much as possible. Besides offering plenty of cool clear water, humidifiers can help keep moisture in the air and helps cells in the trachea, nose and lungs stay healthy.
  • To help keep active pets satisfied when they’re not allowed outdoor exercise, Nicholas recommends “brain games” like trick training, hide-and-seek games, nose-work (sniffing for hidden food treats) and food puzzles to help engage your pet.
Keeps pets indoors as much as possible and avoid strenuous exercise during bad air quality days.

Pet birds are especially hypersensitive to air quality, according to Nicholas. If a pet bird is acting lethargic or refusing to clean themselves for more than a day, it’s best to contact a veterinarian.

Although livestock isn’t Nicholas’ specialty he recommends plenty of fresh water for hydration for farm animals, as well as “low-dust” feeding if possible. Also, fans in stalls or barns can help with air quality.

The National Weather Service in Portland expects the air quality to improve by Thursday. But the wildfire season is still in full swing and we could experience hazardous conditions again before the season is over.


Laurelwood Animal Hospital,located near Jesuit High School on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway offers a full range of companion animal services, including surgery, nutrition and behavior counseling, parasite control and preventative medicine. The hospital also offers advanced imaging through an all-digital spiral CT scanner, a comprehensive dental program and laser treatment.

If you’re looking for quality, compassionate veterinary care in Beaverton, Oregon, come visit us at Laurelwood Animal Hospital.

Laurelwood Animal Hospital

9315 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Beaverton, Oregon 97005

Phone: (971) 244-4230
Fax: (503) 292-6808

E-mail: [email protected]

One of the most frequent questions I am asked via the House Rabbit Society’s online Rabbit Health link is, “My rabbit’s nose and eyes are running. Did he catch a cold from me?” Fortunately, your bunny cannot contract a human cold, as the viruses that cause such misery in humans are not contagious to rabbits. (Note that rabbits can serve as vectors for such viruses. If you have a cold, be sure to wash your hands before you pet your bunny, lest you inadvertently share your “germs” with the next person who pets the bunny!)

As many people are all too aware, however, rabbits can suffer from sneezing, runny nose, and runny eyes. The particular cause of this in your bunny may require a bit of detective work on the part of your rabbit-experienced veterinarian>, but the following information may help.

Upper Respiratory Infection (“Snuffles”)

Rabbits can suffer from infections of the upper respiratory tract (the sinuses and other parts of the tract that are not actually parts of the lungs), and this is usually manifested as runny nose, runny eyes and sneezing. Unlike a human cold, which is caused by a virus, rabbit upper respiratory infections are caused by bacteria. The condition is commonly called “snuffles.”

“Snuffles” is is a non-specific, “catch-all” term used to describe such symptoms without naming the specific cause.. Until fairly recently, many veterinarians believed that “snuffles” was almost always caused by the bacterial pathogen Pasteurella multocida, commonly found in rabbits (though often without causing any problematic symptoms at all). More recent information suggests that many different species of bacteria can cause “snuffles.” Some of the bacteria most commonly cultured from rabbit nasal discharge include Pseudomonas aeruginosaBordetella bronchiseptica, and Staphylococcus aureus, though there are many others.

Because bacterial species (and their different strains) have characteristic sensitivity and resistance to various antibiotics, it is worth your investment to allow your veterinarian to positively identify the pathogen (i.e., disease-causing agent) your bunny has. The best way is via a CULTURE AND SENSITIVITY test. This laboratory test is the only way to determine (1) the species of bacteria causing the infection and (2) which rabbit-safe antibiotics will be most effective at killing them.

If your rabbit is sneezing and/or shows signs of nasal and/or ocular discharge, especially if such discharge is whitish and thickened, she needs to be seen by a veterinarian and have a sample of nasal discharge taken and sent to a laboratory for culture and sensitivity testing. Once your vet receives the results of the C & S test, s/he will be better able to prescribe the particular antibiotic (or combination of antibiotics) that should be safest and most effective for your rabbit’s infection.

Antibiotic therapy may need to be continued for several weeks, and it should always be continued for several days after symptoms have disappeared to ensure that as much of the bacterial population as possible has been killed. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully, and be sure to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if the symptoms go away before the medicine is gone. The reason for this? Even the most effective antibiotics might not kill some of the more resistant bacteria right away. Removing the drug too soon will leave only these particularly hardy individuals to be the progenitors of the new population of bacteria in your rabbit’s sinuses, and these will be genetically better able to resist the antibiotics you have been using (i.e., the population has evolved resistance to the antibiotics). Don’t stop the antibiotics early, and don’t put off treatment! A seemingly simple condition such as sneezing could develop into a potentially life-threatening problem, such as pneumonia or a systemic infection.

Lower Respiratory Infection

A rabbit with pneumonia may show symptoms such as loud, raspy breathing, and may point his nose high in the air and stretch his neck in an attempt to get more oxygen. A rabbit in this condition is critically ill, and in need of oxygen therapy at your veterinarian’s clinic. Experienced rabbit veterinarians will often nebulize such a bunny with oxygen as well as products to open the airways (e.g. aminophylline) and to loosen the mucus and infective material in the lungs (e.g., acetylcysteine solution, brand name “MucoMyst”). In some cases, the veterinarian will add appropriate antibiotics to the nebulization mix, depending on what a culture and sensitivity test indicates.

Foreign Bodies

In some instances, a foreign object (such as a strand of hay, or a bit of food pellet) lodged in the nasal passage has been found to be the cause of runny nose and apparent chronic nasal infection. Sometimes such a foreign body is not visible without the aid of an endoscopic examination by your veterinarian. Once the item has been located, it is usually necessary to anesthetize the rabbit to allow removal of the object without danger.

In other cases, nasal polyps or other growths are found to be at the root of chronic upper respiratory symptoms. But surprisingly, one of the most common culprits causing chronic “snuffles” is undiagnosed dental problems.

Dental Disorders and Chronic Runny Eyes/Nose

Many people are surprised at how common dental problems are in rabbits, and even more puzzled to learn that such problems can cause symptoms such as runny eyes and nose. This is more often seen in older rabbits, as these have had time to develop molar spurs, or molar root problems that can cause inflammation or even develop into infections that spread to the sinuses.

In some older rabbits, gradual onset of metabolic bone disease results in loss of bone density (osteoporosis), especially in the already light bones of the skull. When this happens, the molar and/or incisor roots can very gradually be pushed into the thinning bone as the rabbit chews.

Because rabbit teeth grow continually, the visible portion of the teeth may appear entirely normal. It is only upon radiography that the root problem becomes visible as an intrusion of the tooth roots into the skull bones. This sometimes been called “root overgrowth,” though the term is a bit of a misnomer. The roots are not actually “growing” into the skull, but are being pushed there.

A rabbit’s molars are located almost directly under the eyes. Hence, molar root intrusion into the skull bones can cause occlusion (blockage) of the tear ducts, which run through the skull bones, close to the roof of the mouth, just above the tooth roots. A blocked tear duct will cause tearing and runny eyes, since the tears cannot flow through the ducts and into the back of the mouth, where the duct normally empties. A narrowed duct is more susceptible to becoming plugged with mucus or bacteria. If the duct is not completely occluded, it is often possible for your vet to flush the ducts and help restore normal flow. Whatever discharge comes out the nose from the flush can be A rabbit’s molars are located almost directly under the eye socket. When molar problems (spurs, root intrusion, abscess) develop, symptoms such as runny eyes can be a clue that something’s amiss. collected and sent to a lab for culture and sensitivity testing.

Severe molar root intrusion can also be the cause of retrobulbar abscesses (i.e., abscesses located behind the eye, inside the skull). In some cases, the root has been known to puncture through the bone of the eye socket and into the eyeball itself, causing an intraocular (i.e., inside the eyeball) infection. Such severe problems may require the expertise of a licenses veterinary ophthalmologist, and your own vet may be able to refer you to one in your area, if necessary.

Even incisor (front tooth) roots can be pushed backwards into the skull and occlude the tear ducts. Again, this is usually visible only with radiography. Although your vet may suggest that incisor or molar removal may solve the teary eye problem, there are no guarantees. If the chronic trauma to the area already has caused enough scarring in the bone, even tooth removal may not open a blocked duct. You and your vet should confer to decide whether complete tooth removal to attempt to restore tear duct function is worth the risk.

Alleviating the Symptoms of Runny Eyes and Runny Nose

Runny eyes that cannot be permanently repaired via tear duct flush may cause skin burns and irritation where the caustic tears collect on the skin. It is usually helpful to apply warm washcloth compresses to the affected areas daily, to help soften the dried tears, and then gently rub them away. A fine-toothed, small flea comb may be useful in helping remove softened crusts from the fur.

One excellent way to help a bunny with chronic runny eyes is to allow him/her to choose a spayed/neutered mate from among those at your local rabbit rescuer’s foster home. Bonded bunnies spend a good deal of time grooming each other’s faces, and we know of some bonded bunnies who once had very irritated skin from constant tearing who became completely symptom-free once they had mates to groom away those tears.

A very clogged nose is definitely a problem, as rabbits are obligate nasal breathers. You can help clear your bunny’s nose temporarily by gently suctioning with a pediatric ear syringe. Ask your vet about using a mild, pediatric antihistamine such as Benadryl to help shrink swollen nasal membranes. Together with a tear duct flush, which also helps flush the nasal passages, these treatments can be very effective at clearing the bunny’s breathing route.

Whatever the cause of your bunny’s problem, the sooner you allow your vet to perform the right tests and prescribe the proper treatment, the better your bunny will be able to breathe easily and be on the road to better health.

by Dana M. Krempels

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Are you and your pet outside hiking, swimming &  running all day? Please make sure your pet stays current with all their vaccinations. 

Vaccinations are beneficial to your family, not just your pet. Leptospirosis and Rabies are contagious to all family members. 

Call or stop by today for a free vaccination schedule. 

LW August Poster

Is a Rabbit the Right Pet for You?

Rabbits are great, but they’re not a good match for everyone

From The Humane Society of the United States


Big ears, wiggly nose, cotton tail. Who can resist a darling rabbit, especially if you have kids who are pleading for one?

Buying a pet on impulse is never a good idea. You should first educate yourself on what it takes to care for an animal; otherwise your experience with pet ownership could be very bad for you and your pet.
They may be small in size, but rabbit can have a huge impact on your life. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you jump on the bunny bandwagon.

Do you have enough space in your home?

Keeping a rabbit in a hutch outside is a big no-no; so is relegating a bunny to the basement or garage. Plus, those tiny pet store cages are way too small. You’ll need an available area for a fairly large cage, plus at least one room in your home that has been thoroughly rabbit-proofed. Learn more about rabbit housing »

Do you have children?

Rabbits and young children are generally not a good mix. Rabbits require safe, gentle handling and a quiet environment. As prey animals, rabbits can be easily startled and stressed by the loud noises and fast, uncoordinated movements that are typical of excited children. You may need to wait until your kids are older before adopting a rabbit.

Kids may be enthusiastic about the new bunny for the first couple of weeks, then lose interest when taking care of him interferes with their activities.  All pets are ultimately the responsibility of the adults in the home, not the children. Until you, as an adult, are ready for the commitment of caring for a new pet, don’t let your kids’ pleas challenge your resolve.

What’s your budget?

The initial adoption fee for a rabbit may small, but a rabbit’s care costs can quickly add up. In addition to veterinary costs, including sterilization and emergencies, these are some of the start-up items that new rabbit owners will need to purchase:

Do you have time for a rabbit?

Rabbits are crepuscular, which means they generally sleep during the day and night and are most active at dusk and dawn. Rabbits need regular interaction with you to stay socialized and happy. They also need at least an hour out of their cage each day for play and exercise.

A healthy rabbit diet includes fresh vegetables every day. If you want to keep your rabbit happy and healthy, you’ll need to go grocery shopping at least once a week.

Your rabbit’s enclosure needs to be tidied up every day and cleaned thoroughly once a week. If you travel a lot or work long hours, a rabbit may not be a good choice for you.

Are you ready for the commitment?

Rabbits can live past 10 years of age, so a rabbit may be with your family for as long as a dog would.

Article found

empty leashIt’s every pet parent’s nightmare: Your beloved dog or cat has gotten loose, and you don’t know where he or she is. Don’t panic—there are many steps you can take to locate your little one. Swift action, coupled with major neighborhood networking, will increase the odds of having your furry friend back in your arms! The key is to get the information out to as many people and places as you can, so enlist the help of friends and make sure to involve your entire family in the search effort.

IDs, Please

It’s a good idea for all of your animal companions—even indoors-only pets—to always wear a collar with an ID tag. The ID tag should have your name and a current phone number. If you’ve chosen to microchip your pet as a means of permanent identification, keep in mind that microchips are only as good as the information provided to the chip’s company. If you’ve moved or changed your phone number since registering your pet’s chip and forgot to submit an update, please do so as soon as you can.

Hide and Seek

As soon as you notice that your pet is missing, talk to your family members or housemates and ask when they last saw your pet. It’s a good idea to search your home carefully—under beds, in closets, dark places, small places, behind bulky furniture—in case your pet may be hiding or sleeping somewhere. Shaking a food dish, treat jar or favorite toy will sometimes lure animals out of a hiding place.

If you are sure your pet is not in or around the home, take a slow ride or walk around the neighborhood. Ask friends or neighbors if they’ve seen your animal companion; be sure to bring along a recent photo to show them. Check under porches and shrubs, and ask neighbors to check in sheds and garages just in case your pet was accidentally locked in.

Work the Phones

Your first calls should be to all the animal control agencies, shelters (both municipal and private) and rescue groups in your area; one of them could have your pet in custody already. Check in with the bigger shelters daily—and pay your visits in person, if possible.

If there are no shelters close to your home, contact the police.

News Flash

Your next task? Creating a “lost pet” flyer. We recommend sticking with one design, as repeated viewings of a consistent message are more likely to stick in people’s minds. You’ll need to include a lot of info on your flyer, so use your limited space wisely:
– Start with a big, bold headline that people can read from a distance: “LOST DOG” or “MISSING CAT” is fine.
– Under the headline, a photo of your pet would be ideal. Make sure he’s still well-represented after the picture’s been photocopied or printed. List his breed, sex, color, age, weight, distinguishing features, and where and when he was last seen. It is very important that your pet is described accurately.
– Provide your name and two phone numbers; yours, of course, and a friend or family member’s in case you cannot be reached.

Blanket the Neighborhood

With your flyers in hand (and hopefully, a crew of supportive helpers), it’s time to hit the streets. Good places to post your flyers may include:
– Dog runs and parks
– Pet supply stores and pet grooming shops
– Veterinary offices
– Various commercial establishments, such as grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, Laundromats, bars, cafes and restaurants.
– Lampposts and trees. Cover extra heavily the areas where you think your pet was lost, as well as busy commercial and pedestrian sections of your town.
– Around schools, at kids’-eye level. Children can be more observant than adults, especially when it comes to animals.

Note, be sure to ask permission before posting your flyers!

Hit the ‘Net

The Internet was made for networking. Send descriptive emails about your lost pet to your local friends, colleagues and family members, and ask them to pass on the info to anyone they can. Post messages to animal forums and message boards run by groups based in your area—lots of parks and dog runs have online communities.

Don’t Give Up!

This one’s important! And remember that many lost animals have found their way back home.

Original Article

Regular wellness exams allow your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s general health and become aware of any health problems before they become serious illnesses. Since your pet cannot vocalize his feelings, you must rely on regular physical examinations by a veterinarian and your at-home observations to assess your pet’s health. Your veterinarian may also wish to perform diagnostic tests, including blood tests and/or x-rays, to evaluate your pet’s health.

Routine blood testing, urinalysis (urine testing) and other tests are recommended for all pets in their “senior years.” Your veterinarian may recommend routine blood testing and urinalysis for younger pets to establish baseline values, which can be used for comparison as pets age.

How often does my pet need a wellness exam?

Every year for a dog or cat is equivalent to five to seven human years, so it is important that your pet receives a wellness exam at least every year, and more often when he enters his senior years. Many aspects of your pet’s health can change in a short amount of time, so make sure your pet does not miss even one exam!

Similar to people, pets need to visit the veterinarian more often as they get older in order to prevent and treat illnesses that come with age (visitSenior Pet Care for more information). AAHA recommends that healthy dogs and cats visit the veterinarian once a year for a complete exam and laboratory testing. Healthy senior dogs and cats should receive a wellness exam and lab testing every six months. Depending on your pet’s age and health, your veterinarian will suggest an appropriate physical examination schedule to help keep your pet in tip-top shape.

What can I expect during my pet’s wellness examination?

Your veterinarian will request a complete history of your pet’s health. Don’t forget to mention any unusual behavior that you have noticed in your pet, including:

  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Eating more than usual
  • Excessive drinking of water, panting, scratching or urination
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain or weight loss

Your veterinarian will also want to know about your pet’s daily behavior, including his diet, how much water he drinks and his exercise routine. Your veterinarian may ask:

  • Does your pet have trouble getting up in the morning?
  • Does your pet show signs of weakness or unbalance?
  • Does your pet show an unwillingness to exercise?

Depending on where you live, your pet’s lifestyle and age, and other factors, your veterinarian may also ask about your pet’s exposure to fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites. He or she will develop an individualized treatment and/or preventative plan to address these issues.

Vital Statistics

Usually at the beginning of the exam, your veterinarian, a veterinary technician or an assistant will take your pet’s temperature, pulse, respiration (breathing) rate and body weight. If your pet has lost weight since his last physical exam, he may be experiencing the early stages of metabolic disease, such as kidney disease or diabetes. If your pet has gained weight since his last exam, your veterinarian will work with you to develop an appropriate diet and exercise plan to return your pet to a healthier weight. Weight is an important consideration in your pet’s health — an extra two or three pounds could mean the difference between your pet being fit and healthy or obese.


Your veterinarian may ask if your pet has been shaking his head or scratching at his ears, and if you have noticed an odor coming from your pet’s ears. Your pet’s ear canals protect his inner ear, but can also become a home for parasites and other foreign objects. Your veterinarian will closely examine your pet’s ears to make sure they are healthy.


Eye examinations often reveal many health issues, including anemia, infections, glaucoma, cataracts, high blood pressure, jaundice, kidney problems and allergies, in addition to eye injuries and ulcers. Your veterinarian may examine your cat’s eyes to evaluate her past and present nutritional condition. Observation of the inner structures and outward appearances of the eyes will be included in an eye examination.


Your veterinarian will inspect your pet’s gums, teeth, tongue and palate (roof of the mouth) for tartar buildup, dental abnormalities, fractures, loose teeth, tumors, infection and other problems. For example, similar to people, a lack of red or pink color in your pet’s gums or lining of his lips could signal anemia. Your veterinarian will discuss the importance of regular at-home and professional teeth cleaning to prevent periodontal disease, which can cause bad breath and tooth loss.

Heart and Lungs

Your veterinarian will use a stethoscope to listen to your pet’s heart and lungs for early signs of heart and respiratory disease.

Reproductive Organs

If your pet has not been spayed or neutered, your veterinarian may discuss with you the many health benefits of spaying/neutering beyond just birth control. Your veterinarian will check your pet’s reproductive system for swellings, discharges and breast lumps.


Your pet’s skin is his largest organ and a good gauge of his health. Your veterinarian will check your pet’s skin and hair for fleas, ticks, other external parasites, tumors and wounds, as well as signs of allergies, infection, warts and tumors.

From Head to Toe

Your veterinarian will feel your pet’s abdomen for abnormalities, including enlarged organs, masses or painful areas, to detect problems with the stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver and other organs. Your veterinarian will also examine your pet’s legs and feet and the condition of your pet’s joints, muscles, lymph nodes and nose.

Your veterinarian may recommend additional testing to diagnose or verify a health problem if he finds any abnormalities during your pet’s examination.


Vaccinations are one of the most important preventive measure you can take for the health of your pet. Dogs can be immunized against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, coronavirus, Bordetella, rabies, and Lyme disease. Cats can be immunized against feline panleukopenia (distemper), rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, chlamydia, feline leukemia, and FIP.

How frequently you should have your pet vaccinated against certain diseases depends on many factors, so talk to your veterinarian to understand what is recommended for your pet’s unique environment and lifestyle. Visit the Healthypet article Vaccinations for more information.

Do not underestimate the importance of taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular wellness examinations. These regular examinations will help your pet live a longer and healthier life, so do your part to care for your furry friend!

Article pulled from

The best place for pets to live is indoors with their human families, and this applies to rabbits, too. Many bunnies today live as house rabbits, roaming freely throughout the home just like dogs and cats do.

rabbit green bkrndOutdoor dangers

There are several reasons rabbits shouldn’t live outdoors:

  • Domestic rabbits are different from their wild relatives—they don’t do well in extreme temperatures, especially summer heat.
  • Even in a safe enclosure, rabbits are at risk from predators. Just the sight or smell of a predator can cause rabbits so much stress that they can suffer a heart attack and literally die of fear.

Indoor digs

Whether your rabbit has free rein in your house or is confined to a “rabbitat,” he needs a private space where he can feel safe and comfortable.

There are several different housing systems for rabbits. Whatever kind you choose, make sure to keep it clean and well-stocked with hay, water, and the other necessities that make his house a home.

Cage basics

Most rabbit cages sold in pet stores are too small. Your bunny needs more than just a few square feet for his home.

If your rabbit is free to roam through the whole house or an entire room, a small cage like this may be ok as a base of operations. But if your rabbit is in his cage for extended periods of time, he’ll need a much larger place to live.

A rabbit’s cage should be a minimum of five times the size of the rabbit. He should be able to completely stretch out in his cage and stand up on his hind legs without bumping his head on the top of the cage.

Look for larger, multi-level rabbit homes offered by some pet supply stores and specialty online retailers. These cages give your bunny a lot of room to move around.

Whatever type of cage you get, make sure that the floors and resting platforms are solid—not wire, which can hurt your rabbits feet.

Not all rabbits need a traditional cage. Another option is to use a puppy pen or x-pen to contain your rabbit. As long as the pen contains the appropriate amenities, that will work just fine.


If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, you can easily build a home for your rabbit. Homemade cages are easy to make with a minimum number of tools. If you’re willing to put in the time, you can build a very large, very nice cage for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one.

Rabbit room

If you have a large home with many rooms, you can even devote an entire room to your rabbits. For starters, avoid flooring that’s too slick for rabbit feet, like linoleum. Textured tiles usually work well and are easy to clean. Carpeting is fine too, if your rabbits have good litterbox habits and you can trust them not to chew the carpet. Replacing a regular door with a transparent door or Dutch door can allow you to keep an extra eye on your bunnies.

Rabbit amenities

In any home, it’s important for a rabbit have a secluded place to hide. A cardboard box with a hole cut in it will be fine (staples and tape removed for safety). Rabbits usually sleep during the day and night, becoming playful at dawn and dusk, so they may use this box as a bedroom.

Also, don’t forget the necessities, like one or more litterboxes with litter, hay, and water, and plenty of great chew toys to keep your bunny stimulated.

Original Article: