Category Archives: Ask The Vet

Many times our vets are asked the same question by several different clients. Featured in this area will be often asked questions and the answers from one of the veterinarians. If you have a question/suggestion that you would like our veterinarians to address on this page, please email us or call and let us know.


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Pet Vaccines

Highly contagious canine influenza, or dog flu, can affect dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status. Environments such as dog shows, dog parks, pet day care centers, and grooming facilities are particularly risky.

It is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV) and can occur year-round. Almost all dogs exposed to the virus become infected, and the majority (80% of infected dogs) develop flu-like illness. It can be difficult to diagnose and potentially difficult to treat. In some cases, CIV symptoms can be severe. Prevention remains the best course of action. CIV is not contagious to people.


The canine influenza virus travels from infected dogs to uninfected dogs through:

  • Direct contact.
  • Coughing, barking and sneezing.
  • Contaminated objects: clothing, kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes.
  • People handling or moving between infected and uninfected dogs.


Range from mild to severe: persistent coughing, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge, lethargy, reduced appetite and fever.


Secondary bacterial infection can develop and may cause more severe illness and pneumonia.


  • Talk to your vet about your dog’s risk of exposure and if the canine influenza vaccine is right for your dog.
  • Avoid exposing your dog to obviously sick dogs.
  •  If there is a CIV outbreak in your area, avoid taking your dog to areas where dogs gather.
  •  If your dog show signs of illness, isolate it from other dogs and seek veterinary care.
  •  Wash your hands after handling any dog and especially after handling a sick dog.
  •  Do not share equipment or toys between sick and apparently healthy dogs.


Provide supportive care to keep the dog as comfortable as possible.Medications may be necessary for severe illness or secondary bacterial infections.


Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks.


Canine influenza vaccine (Vanguard CIV H3N2) may be given to healthy dogs 8 weeks of age and older. Dogs should be given a 2 dose series 2-4 weeks apart and then an annual revaccination with a single dose is recommended. The vaccine does not prevent infection but it will reduce the severity and duration of the infection.

upper valley vet logo This information is provided from the AVMA website ( and Zoetis Animal Health along with your local veterinarian, Upper Valley Veterinary Clinic. Please contact Upper Valley Veterinary Clinic if you have further questions regarding Canine Influenza. 208-356-4271

Dog Treats for the Holidays – Gingerbread Mailmen!

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Doggie Treats – Gingerbread Mailmen Recipe

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/4 cup Canola Oil

1/4 cup Dark Molasses

1/4 cup Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. In a small bowl stir together the oil, molasses and water. Add the molasses mixture to the flour mixture and stir until you have a soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into gingerbread men or any other shape you like with a cookie cutter, a glass rim or a knife. Transfer the cookies to an ungreased baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until firm. Makes about 30 cookies depending on size. Store cooled cookies in a tightly sealed container.

Want more pet treat recipes in the future? Check back to our blog for more recipes from our Rexburg veterinary! 

Pet Heat Stroke & Exhaustion Tips

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Upper Valley Vet – Hot Weather Tips

Pets in Hot Weather
Know Prevention, Recognize Symptoms, Learn Emergency First Aid

Summertime is a fun time for vacations, baseball games, hikes with your dogs, and weekend getaways. It is also time for those working companions to keep busy moving cattle on the summer range. As you make plans to head outside with your pets, there are several ways to keep them from overheating. Heat Stroke is a potentially deadly state where the pet’s body cannot keep its body temperature in a normal range due to outside conditions or exercise. Heat exhaustion is an emergency that requires immediate treatment. Dogs do not tolerate high temperatures as well as humans do because they do not sweat as we do. Dogs depend on panting to exchange warm air for cool air. When panting isn’t enough, your pet’s body temperature begins to rise and this condition can be fatal if not corrected quickly. Short nosed breeds such as Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs and Pekinese cannot exchange air as efficiently as other breeds and when the weather is hot they may experience difficulties easier than other breeds. Older dogs or those with health issues are more apt to experience heat difficulties.

Prevent Pets Overheating

Prevention of heat stroke will help keep your pet safe. Do not leave your pets outdoors when it is hot without adequate shade and cool water. Dog runs and tie outs for dogs can be a hazard when the sun changes position and the shade moves or disappears completely. You may have to provide a shade tarp or umbrella, a small wading pool filled with water, misters or extra tubs of water. Do not leave your dog in a car, even with the windows rolled down while you run into a store for something as it can be fatal. The inside temperature in a car on a warm day as well as on an overcast day can quickly rise to a deadly degree.

If you must be out and about with your pets during hot weather, make sure you bring plenty of water and some shade with you. Take a water break in the shade every 15 minutes for at least 5 minutes at a time when you are hiking. When you will be walking on hot sand, concrete, or asphalt your dog’s feet can blister so go to those areas in the early morning when the surface is more likely to be cooler. If your dog is working in warm weather, be prepared to offer him water at regular intervals and understand that he may drink more water than usual under these circumstances. Wipe his groin, belly and legs with a cool, damp cloth to help cool him when you take a water break. Become aware of your dog’s behavior and know what is abnormal.

Signs of Pets Overheating

It is important to know when you pet might be overheating. Rapid, sometimes frantic panting (the tongue extended much further than normal and may be scooped at the end like a big spoon with slimy drool at the tip), increased heart rate and temperature, difficulty breathing, restlessness or listlessness, excess salivation, vomiting or diarrhea, or dark red tongue and gums are some of the first symptoms you may notice. As the symptoms progress you will see an even higher increase in your pet’s body temperature, weakness, staggering, gasping, seizures, and gums may turn purple or blue. If you believe your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, immediate emergency measures are required.

Course of Action

Emergency measures to cool your pet must begin at once. Move your pet out of the source of heat. Begin rapid cooling by spraying the dog with a garden hose or immersing him for up to 2 minutes in a tub of cool water then placing the dog in front of a fan. (Very small dogs should be immersed in lukewarm water.) Towels soaked in cool water can be used to cover your dog. You can also place damp towels between his legs and across his neck and on top of his head. Do not use cold water or ice. The normal rectal temperature for a dog is between 100 and 103 degrees. Once your pet’s temperature has fallen below 104 degrees stop the cooling process and dry the dog with a towel.

Rexburg Animal Hospital

Following an episode of heat stroke, take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Heat stroke may result in breathing problems that need further treatment. Program your veterinarian’s emergency contact information into your phone for quick access. Other consequences of heat stroke include kidney failure, irregular heartbeat, and seizures. These complications can occur hours or days later.

Prevention and knowledge of your pet’s normal behavior along with being prepared will help you enjoy the outdoors with your pet all summer long. If you have further questions regarding heat stroke or other summer related issues, please contact our Rexburg animal hospital for further information.

Fall Pet Care Tips

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Rexburg Pet Care

Fall is here. The leaves are changing, apples are hanging heavy on the trees, the air is nippy in the morning, and your pet has more energy as the air begins to be cooler during the day.

Autumn is when many home owners make repairs and preparations for winter. It is also the ideal time to maintain where your pets hang their collars and to help your pets become ready for the winter weather.

Each fall is a good time to do an end of the season check on collars, leashes, harnesses, fences, leads, and runs. You don’t want to end up chasing your dog through the cold winter weather when his leash breaks or he escapes through a broken fence. By making sure these items are in good condition before the snow flies, you will lessen the need to hunt for your pet during the colder temperatures.

Check your pet’s outdoor home, shelter and bedding. An insulated house makes a huge difference in the warmth and comfort of your outdoor pet. Any bedding should be washed before replacing it in your pet’s house. A well-fenced area or yard can help your pet to get the exercise it needs during the winter months when pet owners tend to want to take their pets for shorter walks. Inspect, repair, or replace feeding dishes and heated water bowls.

Many pet owners give their dogs and cats a good end of the summer bath. Make sure you use a pet-safe shampoo and get them completely dry. This, along with basic grooming, helps your pet be ready for winter. Your pets should be brushed often regardless of breed, size, coat length or hair type. Most pets grow a heavier coat in the winter to help insulate them from the elements. Many pets benefit from brushing which should make the coat softer, cleaner, and less prone to major shedding. When you brush your pet’s fur it helps keep it free from mats and burrs. Fall seems to be a time when dogs experience some itching and allergic reactions that affect their skin. Owners should locate and treat irritated skin, clean ears, and clip nails as a part of fall grooming care.

We have a complete grooming facility here at Upper Valley Veterinary Clinic to offer Rexburg pet grooming, should you need help to get your pet ready for the upcoming winter weather.

Halloween Pet Safety

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Rexburg Animal Care

Fall is here and Halloween is approaching. Halloween is a fun-filled holiday for everyone. However, the scary creatures, silly costumes, decorations and treats can be frightening and potentially dangerous for dogs and cats.

Pet Costumes

Even if you’ve found the perfect costume for your pet, they may not enjoy wearing it. Well in advance of Halloween, try the costume on your pet and see how they react. If they don’t like it, don’t force them to wear it. You do not want to cause them discomfort and stress. Some animals don’t mind, but others do not want to be bothered. If your pet’s costume comes with a mask, make sure that the eyes have plenty of room for your pet to see and that the mask does not cover your pet’s ears, nose or mouth. Some pets tolerate masks, but many find it too stressful. Avoid tying anything around your pet’s neck that could cause choking or strangling. Make sure the costume has no small parts or pieces that may be easily chewed off and swallowed.

Party Precautions

If you are having a party, provide a safe, out of the way place where your pet will not be disturbed. Some pets are friendly and don’t mind loud noises, music or lots of people but for their safety you should keep them in a room with food and water and a toy where they won’t be disturbed during your party. Check on them once in a while to let them know everything is okay.

Trick or Treating

Do not take your dog along for trick-or-treating. Even the best trained dogs can become spooked or aggressive in the noise and confusion of Halloween. If your pet is a cat, remember that some people tend to find Halloween events an excuse to hurt or kill cats, especially if they are black in color. It is best to keep your pets inside for several days before and after Halloween to keep them safe. On Halloween night, keep them in a room separate from the trick-or-treaters. This will help them be less frightened and threatened by constant ringing door bells or noisy children in costumes. Too many strangers can overwhelm a pet. If a pet is let loose in a house, they may dart out the front door as you hand out candy.

Halloween Decorations

Avoid hazardous decorations such as lighted candles or jack-o-lanterns which can be knocked over by a swinging tail or a curious cat. Not only could your pet start a fire but they could burn themselves. Don’t use streamers or ribbons on your pet’s collars or costumes or for decoration. These items are frequently ingested and may cause intestinal obstruction which requires surgery to remove.

Halloween Candy

Keep Halloween candy out of your pet’s reach. Chocolate is toxic to pets and many candies can be harmful and make your pets sick. Candy wrappers, such as tin foil, can get stuck in your pet’s digestive tract and make them ill or cause death. Avoid giving your pet alcohol or caffeine. Rich fatty foods can cause your pet discomfort and result in a trip to your veterinarian. Pets have an excellent sense of smell so keep all counter tops clean and a lid firmly locked on the garbage can to prevent them from eating wrappers and food packages.

For more information on Rexburg animal care, feel free to contact our Upper Valley Veterinary Clinic. Have a safe and fun Halloween with your pets.

Help Your Animals Cope with Loud Noise

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Rexburg Animal Care
Fear of loud noises is a common phobia in dogs and cats, especially with thunder and fireworks.

Signs of Fear

In dogs, it is usually displayed by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination.  Trying to help your dog cope with loud noises is important because the anxiety usually gets progressively more pronounced with age.  A dog suffering from a fear of thunderstorms may begin to display anxious behavior before the thunder begins. It is important not to punish your dog for being anxious, but equally important not to cuddle too much.
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Vaccinations for Cats and Dogs

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puppies ready for vaccinations

Rexburg Animal Vaccinations

Once your furry bundle of energy has wriggled its way into your heart, its time to think about healthcare. Since pets usually don’t come with an owner’s manual, new owners often wonder about vaccinations and de-worming. Just like children, your pets need vaccinations in order to live a healthier life. Regular and routine vaccinations and de-worming are in place to prevent possible fatal infections and diseases. Continue reading

When to Deworm Your Dog

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when to deworm your dog

When to Deworm Your Dog & More

It is typical practice to deworm puppies at about 2 weeks of age before any eggs can be passed in their stool.  Then it is advisable to continue to deworm your puppies every 2 weeks until they are at least 8 weeks old.  While this should prevent many problems that may arise, it is still important to be aware of your dog’s health as an adult.  Stress can activate any larvae that has been laying dormant.  Stressful situations can include severe illness, pregnancy, invasive surgery, extreme emotional events or trauma.  Keep in mind that some things are more upsetting for your pets than for you, such as moving to a new place, storms, or too many new faces. Continue reading

Does Your Horse Need a Dentist?

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Paul M. Tew, DVM

Rexburg Horse Dental

Does your trusty mount “eat like a horse” but still lose weight? Does he slobber his grain all over the ground? Does the bit irritate his mouth? Then he may well need some equine dentistry!

A healthy mouth is crucial to the condition and well being of a horse. Equines are like most of the grazers of the earth: they have very long grinding teeth embedded in their gums that slowly grow down into the mouth as they are worn away by the constant chewing of grass or hay. The wear pattern is not always even, so sharp points, hooks, or uneven alignment often occurs. This makes it difficult for the horse to chew properly and can cause sores on the cheeks, gums or tongue. Continue reading

Spring Pet Grooming Tips

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Cat GroomingSnow and rain causes the coat of your pet to become dirty and matted.  When the fur becomes matted to the skin and tangled tight, it needs to be shaved off.  Regular grooming can uncover skin problems caused by injuries or allergies.  It also uncovers lumps and bumps.  As your pet is brushed and groomed, the shape of their body becomes familiar to the caregiver and potential problems are quickly recognized and can be treated by your veterinarian.

Sometimes a pet owner will ask the groomer to “comb out the mats”.  This is comparable to when you remove excessive “snarls” from your own hair.  It can be very painful to your pet.  Routine brushing by the pet owner removes dead hair, spreads oils and helps keep unpleasant odors away.  Cats that are regularly brushed have less problems with hair balls.  During spring shedding, it is important for the pet owner to brush their pets more often. Continue reading