SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – A warning for Bay Area dog owners: Animal care officials say there are now confirmed cases of the flu among dogs in this region. Cases have been reported in San Francisco and the South Bay.
SFGATE: Flu season is taking its toll in the South Bay, not only with people, but their pets. Veterinarians are warning of a canine flu outbreak. Vets stress it can’t be transmitted from dog-to-person.

Most veterinary hospitals offer a bivalent vaccine that covers H3N2 and H3N8
It might be worth adding to your yearly vaccination protocol
The mortality rate is pretty low, the symptoms of which typically persist for three to four weeks. During that time, vets recommend dogs be kept under quarantine, away from dog parks and kennels.

Vaccines and Your Scottie

This is the start of a series on dog vaccinations written for the membership of the San Francisco Bay Scottish Terrier Club.

Your vet is obviously the best resource for advice on what medical treatments are right for your Scottie. However, understanding the common diseases and what risk they present to your dog can help you make informed decisions. Some veterinary professionals believe that certain pets are being over-vaccinated. Re-vaccinating an already-vaccinated animal is unlikely to cause harm but it’s also expensive to do so and it’s impossible to say what any long-term effects there might be on any individual animal. Plus, some diseases are not prevalent in our area, and so vaccinating against them is unnecessary. And vet visits are expensive! Knowing which vaccines are really crucial for your dog, your geography, and your lifestyle can help you make more informed decisions.

The information in this series is sourced from California state law, from the American Animal Hospital Association ( and the American Veterinary Medical Association (, and in consultation with recommendations from UC-Davis. You should always speak with your trusted vet on what’s right for you and your Scottie in making these important decisions.


In California, the only vaccine that dogs are legally required to get is rabies. That’s because rabies can be transmitted to humans, and it’s near 100% fatal. Managing it in the animal population is the best way to keep all of us safe. You may have heard that raccoon and skunks carry rabies in the wild, which is true, but actually the most common carrier of rabies in California are bats. If you’re ever bitten by a bat, try to capture it! The authorities can do testing on it to see if it’s infected. If you’re bitten by any wildlife, as quickly as you can, wash the wound, flushing with water for at least 10 minutes, and then seek medical attention. If a dog is bitten by wildlife, the dog will need to be quarantined whether or not it was vaccinated. Rabies is a serious disease and any such contact with wildlife needs to be handled with extreme caution. Contact your local animal control agency for guidance.

How often are rabies shots required?

In California, the earliest age for first rabies vaccine for a puppy is 3 months. The next rabies vaccine is needed one year later. This second vaccine can be a three-year shot, and then re-vaccinate every three years from there. Most counties require dogs to be vaccinated in order to be licensed. Some vets prefer to only administer one vaccine at a time, and there are many more vaccines that a puppy will be getting, so this would then require multiple vet visits, which adds to the price (there is some debate in the veterinary community whether this is necessary or not, however; if the dog is healthy, many vets will administer all core vaccines including rabies at the same time). There are many inexpensive places to get a rabies shot for a dog, including traveling pop-up vaccine stations offered by a company called VIP Pet Care that regularly visits pet stores around the Bay Area, or your local humane society. 

Why do we need to re-vaccinate dogs for rabies?

This is done out of an abundance of caution, because rabies is such a dangerous disease. If your dog has ever been vaccinated against rabies, then it’s likely that he has some immunity even if that single vaccination happened a long time ago. But just to be sure, the law requires active vaccinations be maintained on a regular schedule throughout the dog’s life. The frequency is based on what type of vaccination is used; the drug manufacturers offer a 1‑year and a 3-year version of the rabies vaccine and both are acceptable in California.

Possible side-effects from the rabies vaccine

Just like with humans, all canine vaccines come with the possibility of side-effects, but they are uncommon. Still, watch your Scottie carefully after he gets any shots. The most common symptoms from any vaccine – not specific to rabies – are flu-like symptoms including mild fever, or allergic reactions including facial swelling or itching. If your Scottie develops these symptoms within the first 48 hours of receiving any vaccination, contact your vet.

Can my Scottie get rabies from the vaccine?

No. The type of vaccine used to prevent rabies is called a killed vaccine which means that the virus is inactive. Rabies cannot be contracted from the rabies vaccine.

What if your Scottie is sick? Is the rabies vaccine dangerous?

The rabies vaccine is well tolerated in healthy dogs, and this vaccine is required by law.  There is a version of the rabies vaccine that can be safely used even for elderly or immunocompromised animals. While it’s possible for a veterinarian to issue a waiver for a sick dog to exempt it from the legal requirement of vaccination, this is rarely done. Talk to your treating vet if your Scottie is suffering from a terminal illness to see what vaccines are indicated in your specific case.

Here’s your cheat-sheet on rabies

Rabies Vaccine:                                               Required by California law in all dogs

Timing & Frequency:                                      Vaccine #1 at 3 months old

                                                                        Vaccine #2 one year later. This can be either around the dog’s first birthday, or one year after the initial vaccine was given; there’s nothing magic on the timing of “one year.” Vaccine #2 can be a 3-year vaccine, which means that subsequent vaccines happen on that three-year schedule thereafter.

                                                                        Regular boosters: On either a 1-year or 3-year schedule depending on which version was last given. The 3-year schedule is fine; these dogs are just as well protected as those who are vaccinated more frequently.

Indicated even for older or sick dogs:            Yes.

Are you interested in a specific vaccine or disease that we should cover next? Please let us know! You can send in requests or ideas to our SFBSTC Bulletin Editor.


A citywide alert went out for pet owners in Alameda, California about Xylitol a sugar supplement.
“Yesterday Benny, a 2-year-old dog that lives here in Alameda, ate a cupcake out of the compost that contained xylitol and passed away,” the Sept. 5 alert to residents said. “While heartbroken, the family wants to make sure that other dog owners are aware of this poison.”

Dr. Michael Miller, a veterinary at Providence Veterinary Hospital & Clinic in Alameda, explained in the alert that xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and can be found in chewing gum, breath mints, peanut butter and nasal sprays.

“It’s best to avoid xylitol completely and use other sugar substitutes,” Miller said in the alert. “If you cannot avoid using products containing xylitol, then make absolutely sure they are stored safely out of reach of your pets.”

The family said Benny started vomiting after he ate the cupcake, so he called his mom to find out what ingredients she made them with. Once he started Googling potential symptoms, he rushed Benny to the veterinarian but it was too late.“He was the best dog every“ So happy when we came home. So unfair to lose him at 2 years old.”

Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs.

Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to your dog unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian. It is important to get treatment for your dog as quickly as possible.  As some dogs may already be hypoglycemic, inducing vomiting can make them worse!

If you suspect that your pet has eaten a xylitol-containing product, please contact your veterinarian immediately or call the

           PET POISON HELPLINE   800-213-6680   OR  





Dr. Jerry Klein is a veterinarian in the emergency room at Chicago’s largest veterinary emergency and specialty center. He was personally involved in treating hundreds of dogs sickened by the H3N2 virus during its initial outbreak in Chicago in spring of 2015
This article has also been published by the American Kennel Club.

This notice is being sent out to provide up-to-date and accurate information about the Canine Influenza Virus to help prevent the spread of the virus to healthy (unexposed) dogs. The information provided is not intended to alarm dog owners and handlers.

There are recently confirmed cases of the Canine Influenza Virus (H3N2 strain) that was first brought to and identified in Chicago, Illinois in the spring of 2015. The most recent outbreaks concern the following states: Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Canine Influenza Virus is an extremely contagious airborne disease that is easily spread among dogs, and in rare instances, can be contagious to cats. If you believe one of your dogs may have contracted the Canine Influenza Virus, immediately isolate it from other animals and contact your veterinarian.

Here is some additional information about Canine Influenza Virus and tips for how to minimize the risk and reduce the spread of the disease:

Canine Influenza Virus
Canine Influenza Virus is spread through:
Close proximity to infected dogs (it is airborne and can travel up to 20 ft.)
Contact with contaminated items (bowls, leashes, crates, tables, clothing, dog runs etc.)
People moving between infected and uninfected dogs
80% of all dogs that are exposed to the virus will contract it
The virus lives up to 24 hours on soft surfaces and up to 48 hours on hard surfaces.
Some exposed dogs will be subclinical carriers – meaning some dogs will contract and
spread the virus without showing symptoms.
Dogs show clinical signs within 24-48 hours and can shed the virus for up to 28 days
from exposure.
Most dogs will completely recover with proper treatment.
Dogs that regularly interact with dogs outside of their own family or frequent places
where many dogs gather are most susceptible to exposure to Canine Influenza Virus.

  Dry, hacking cough (similar to kennel cough)
Lack of appetite
Discharge from the nose or eyes
Fever (normal temperature is 101 – 102)

The best protection is vaccination. There is now a single vaccination for both the H3N2
and H3N8 strains of the virus. The vaccination requires a booster shot two weeks after
the initial vaccine. Vaccination provides the best chance of immunity within 7-14 days of
booster shot.
Isolate sick animals and keep them isolated for up to 30 days after symptoms       subside.
Practice good sanitation. Use a bleach and water mixture diluted to 1-part bleach x 30
parts water to disinfect common areas such as tables, bowls, leashes, crates, etc. Allow
items to thoroughly air dry for a minimum of 10 minutes before exposing dogs to them.
Bleach breaks down quickly so solution should be made daily. Keep in mind that bleach
becomes inactive in UV light. If mopping use two buckets so as not to cross contaminate areas.
Wash your hands frequently, ideally between handling different dogs. At the very
minimum, hand sanitizer should be used between handling dogs.
Use disposable gowns or wipe down clothing and shoes with a bleach solution     between dogs or after leaving an area where dogs congregate.
Food/water bowls should be made of stainless steel instead of plastic because
scratched plastic is hard to fully disinfect.

Treatment of Canine Influenza Virus requires veterinary assistance. If you believe your dog may have Canine Influenza Virus, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
Untreated, the illness may progress to pneumonia or other, more serious problems.
H3N2 can lead to severe secondary pneumonia which can cause extremely sick dogs
with potential fatalities.  Most dogs take 2-3 weeks to recover from the illness.

Any dog suspected of having Canine Influenza Virus should be immediately isolated
from other dogs and should not attend dog shows, day care, grooming facilities, dog
parks, or other places dogs gather. Dogs are contagious for up to 30 days once they
have started showing symptoms.
Contact your veterinarian to let them know that your dog may be showing symptoms of
Canine Influenza Virus. If your dog is going to a veterinary hospital or clinic, call ahead
to let them know you have a suspected case of Canine Influenza Virus. They may ask
you to follow a specific protocol before entering the clinic to minimize the spread of the
disease, including waiting in your car until they are ready to examine your dog.Keep sick dogs at home and isolated from other dogs and cats until you are certain the illness has run its course (typically 3-4 weeks).

Consideration for Event Venues
Use a bleach and water mixture diluted to 1-part bleach x 30 parts water to disinfect
common areas including show floors, grooming tables, ring gates, in-ring examination
tables and ramps, and x-pens. Allow solution to completely dry (at least ten minutes in
order to assure virus has been killed). Bleach breaks down quickly so solution should be made daily. Keep in mind that bleach becomes inactive in UV light. If mopping use two buckets so as not to cross contaminate areas.
When wiping down hard surfaces paper towels are preferred over cloth.
Consider having two exam tables at every ring so that they can be cleaned and      allowed to air dry frequently in between classes.
Provide hand sanitizer in each ring and in grooming areas.
Exhibitors should consider grooming dogs at their cars instead of using grooming areas where dogs are in very close proximity.


I have just read this article in our local paper about leptospirosis a killer disease and wanted to pass it on to those who are in or are near flooded areas.
The bacteria may be present in standing water following the heavy rain activity we have just been experiencing. Currently there have been reports of Lepto in San Francisco and Sonoma County. Certainly those in the Coyote Dam Area should be aware and very careful with their pets.
Dogs can contract this disease if they drink this water when you are taking them for a walk or letting them run loose. Recently a person lost her dog to this disease. She had taken her dog for a neighborhood walk, it suddenly grew ill showing signs of acute kidney failure, in two days the dog was gone. Her dog picked it up drinking from standing water, which is everywhere since our recent rains and local flooding. Avoid puddles, lakes, creeks, any areas where wildlife and water mix.” Potential hazardous areas include hiking trails, streams, local rivers and communal water sources such as dog parks and community gardens.
Leptospirosis is spread through contact with animal urine deposited in water sources or carried along by infected soil by the flowing water. “Lepto” is a nasty bacteria which usually presents itself with a high fever that doesn’t respond to treatment. It also includes signs of kidney disease, heavy urination,dehydration.
The disease is sometimes treatable if caught early, but that is rare. The best prevention is a vaccination before the dog is exposed, and yearly doses to stay effective. When a dog has never had the vaccine, first-time treatment requires two to three shots – one initial vaccination followed by one or two booster shots a month or so after the first treatment If your dogs are kenneled or sent to daycare, they should be vaccinated. If your dog appears lethargic, is not eating, drinking too much, is vomiting or any other vague symptoms, don’t wait. Get them to the vet. The sooner the pet is treated the more likely your dog will survive.
The highly –infectious disease is caused by leptospira , a corkscrew shaped bacteria that if left untreated spreads quickly, possibly resulting in Kidney failure, internal bleeding and other fatal problems. The only other way to prevent this disease is to avoid high-risk areas as mentioned above.
I am glad I read this article and was anxious to pass it on. I truly hope your reading it will save a dog.











New Urine Test For Bladder Cancer

This Article was sent to me by Dr. Marcia Dawson, DVM – STCA Health Trust Chair.
Exciting news from the lab of Dr. Matthew Breen at NC State! NEW URINE TEST FOR THE DETECTION OF TCC…
Dr. Matthew Breen of NC State has developed a new urine test for the detection of bladder cancer (TCC) in dogs, and this test will soon be available to Scottie owners everywhere. Dr. Breen’s CADET test works by detecting the presence of a specific mutation in a gene called the BRAF gene. This mutation is present in 85% of the cases of canine TCC, which gives this test a very high sensitivity rating. This mutation is not present in the urine of healthy dogs or dogs that have noncancerous polyps or infection, so there is no confusion about test results. By collecting a free catch urine sample and sending this sample to Dr. Breen’s lab, we will be able to test our dogs and have results back within a couple of weeks. Furthermore, this test will pick up the presence of the mutation many months before there are any signs or symptoms of TCC in our Scotties. This super early diagnosis will allow for much earlier interventional therapies, allowing for a greater chance of making a difference in the course of the disease.
The new CADET test will be available for purchase by a year subscription plan, which will include 3 tests to be returned to Dr. Breen’s lab every 4 months, with overnight shipping included in the cost. The particulars such as how to order and the cost of the subscription will be announced soon.

So stay tuned to for more info and be sure to share this announcement with your veterinarian!
Marcia Dawson DVM

The miracle of Dr. Breen’s CADETSM BRAF test is that it can detect the presence of the mutation in remarkably few cells shed in urine, long before there are any symptoms of TCC/UC, before blood is noticed in urine, before the straining to urinate and frequency of urination, and even in some cases, before an abnormality can be seen on ultrasound. In short, this new CADETSM test offers the gift of time.
The CADETSM BRAF Mutation Detection Assay is now available at a substantial discount on for AKC registrants. The test is available as an annual screener subscription package, allowing owners to proactively test their dogs on a regular basis. The service pack includes three tests, one to be carried out every four months, instructions, urine pots for sample collection, and prepaid FedEx shipping labels to send samples directly to the testing laboratory.
For breeders, Sentinel Biomedical and the AKC offer a bulk pricing so that breeders can screen all their dogs at once for a reduced rate. Once the testing laboratory receives samples, owners and breeders will receive results within two weeks.

New Cushings Study

This Article was published in, by Jim and Ginger McAfee.
Several of my Scotties participated in the Research for Atypical Cushing’s in Scotties from the Virginia-Maryland College of Vet Medicine for a couple of years, in fact we had blood drawn at our Rescue Picnic one year. Here is the preliminary findings. I received this from Mindy Quigley, the Clinical Research Coordinator, and have her permission to forward this. I asked her if it made any difference if the dog was spayed or neutered and she said there was no difference. It will be published in a couple of months and she will send me the link when it is up. This is very interesting and you might want to share it with your vet.   Ginger

A member of our Club The San Francisco Bay STC also had her Scottie “Abagayle” Sweeney participate in this study. Sue also has this same report.
From: Quigley, Mindy
Subject: Scottie research study update
Dear Scottie supporters,

Thank you to those veterinarians and owners who participated in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s study of Atypical Cushing’s in Scottish terriers. We wanted to provide an update on our research findings for those who may be interested in learning more.
Atypical Cushing’s in Scotties
Cushing’s disease is a chronic debilitating disorder in dogs. Scotties have an unusually high incidence of Cushing’s. It can contribute to the development of diabetes, obesity, immune system problems, inappropriate urination, and other negative health outcomes. In normal dogs, the pituitary gland and adrenal glands produce hormones necessary for the function of many systems in the body. If something goes wrong in these glands and certain hormones are overproduced, then Cushing’s can develop. These abnormalities are often detected by observing clinical signs and when routine blood work shows elevations in a liver protein called ALP.
Our Earlier Findings
Preliminary data indicate that in Scottish Terriers, the cause of atypical Cushing’s appears to be due to excessive amounts of noncortisol steroids, which is an atypical form of the disease. These findings prompted the group at the vet school here to speculate that there might be a unique underlying cause for atypical Cushing’s in this breed. The study you participated in was designed to test those theories.

Our preliminary research, which has been ongoing for several years, had already figured out a few things:

  • In the most common form of Cushing’s, excessive amounts of a single hormone from the pituitary gland signals the adrenal gland to overproduce cortisol. However, in Scotties excessive amounts of sex hormones, not cortisol, are observed.
  • This increased production of adrenal sex hormones is not due to excessive amounts of a variety of pituitary signaling hormones.
  • These elevated concentrations of sex hormones are the cause for the increased ALP values commonly seen in these dogs.
  • There is no indication of adrenal cancer as a cause for this increased production of sex hormones.
  • The magnitude of ALP elevations increases over time, but pituitary and adrenal regulation do not change.

The Virginia-Maryland college team identified 3 candidate genes in a very small pool of patients which are uniquely expressed in Scotties with atypical disease compared to normal Scotties and other breeds with Cushing’s disease, and undertook the study you participated in to understand how these genes might influence the development of atypical Cushing’s.
The Newest Study
The latest study you participated in found that there was indeed a genomic variation in Scottish terriers that was associated with increased serum ALP activity. The variation was located on the same chromosome as a gene responsible for inactivation of sex steroids. Genes can be active (expressed) or inactive (not expressed). If genes are overexpressed, their effect can increase. If they are under expressed, their effect is reduced. In Scotties, the sex steroid inactivation gene was under expressed in comparison to other breeds with Cushing’s disease (pituitary dependent hyperadrenocorticism). We suggest the gene variation seen in Scotties may be linked with “turning off” this sex steroid inactivation gene, leading to increased concentrations of sex steroids. We believe the higher concentrations of these sex steroids may explain commonly observed liver and ALP changes seen in Scottish terriers.
The results will be published in academic journals, shared with the AKC’s Canine Health Foundation, and published on the AVMA’s clinical research website. We hope that better understanding of the mechanisms of this disease in Scotties can lead to better treatments for affected dogs.

If you have any questions about this research, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Mindy Quigley
Clinical Trials Coordinator
Veterinary Clinical Research Office
Virginia Tech
Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
205 Duck Pond Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Office Phone: 540-231-1363



Rattlesnake Bites – To Vaccinate, or Not

       I recently purchased a 7 month old Scottish Terrier puppy from South California and in reviewing the health records I saw my puppy had received a rattlesnake vaccination. Knowing little about the vaccination I decided to do some quick research about the vaccination. Regardless of the breed of dog, knowing about the risks can make a difference.
     What is the vaccination? The vaccination is an injectable vaccine, first developed by Red Rock Biologics, a company located near Sacramento, California. This vaccination is specific to a common rattlesnake found in the California, the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. (Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake Vaccines, 2016)
     What is risk and should you consider this vaccination? Like any vaccination there are pros and cons and you discuss the risk with your veterinarian. Some quick background information may helpful in considering this vaccination. A first consideration is your location and the likelihood you may encounter a poisonous snake. Just like giving my Scotties their heartworm pill, it is yet another medication I worry about and why give you dog a medication when the risk is low. In my breeder’s case, they lived in an area where rattlesnakes are commonly found amongst urban living. My puppy’s breeder happens to live in the foothills of South California, and their property was in a semi-rural environment. As a result all six puppies in the litter and all the adult dogs have all been vaccinated.
According the Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), a Nationwide Insurance company states that “approximately 300,000 dogs and cats are bitten annually in the United States from venomous snakes.” (Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs, 2016) While the statistic may sound alarming, your decision should factor in risks. Pet owners face a long list of potential threats, and this is one more to add to the list.
     Are the Vaccinations Safe, Side-Effects and are they Effective? This depends on who you ask. The vaccination has been United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) since October, 2004, and in use in California since July 2003. Dosage may vary as directed by your veterinarian, but according the manufacturer of the vaccine; “the first time your dog is vaccinated, we recommend an initial vaccine injection followed by a booster dose about one month later. We recommend then boostering each subsequent year.” (Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake Vaccines, 2016).
UC Davis describes the side effects as minimal and flu-like if they occur at all, but if you are concerned, read the short article used in this summary. The recommend (UCDAVIS Veterinary Medicine, 2016)
     What is the cost of vaccination? The vaccination costs will vary from $20.00 to $40.00 per injection according the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine. (UCDAVIS Veterinary Medicine, 2016)More Information? The websites used in this summary provide additional information, some in easy to read, frequently asked question format that provides further information, and the UC Davis site does address some health concerns and provides a more of objective overall view of the subject.
     Works Cited:
Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs. (2016, July 10). Retrieved July 10, 2016, from What Pet Ownders Should Know:

Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake Vaccines. (2016, July 10th). Retrieved July 10, 2016, from Frequently Asked Questions:

UCDAVIS Veterinary Medicine. (2016, July 10). Retrieved July 10`, 2016, from Avoic Snakebite dueing Summer Pet Outings:

Many thanks to  SFBSTC member Jim Nolte for sharing this information.