Please note: SF Bay Scottish Terrier Club does not provide veterinary advice. However, we like to keep our members informed about health issues in our area. The information provided is for your use in consultation with your vet for the best care for your dog.

Be careful about xylitol hidden in foods – including ice cream and peanut butter!

Watch this public service video from the FDA released in 2019:


original post from 2017 on this topic:

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            www.petpoisonhelpline.com



More information on canine heart problems associated with “grain free” dog food

Please note: SF Bay Scottish Terrier Club does not provide veterinary advice. However, we like to keep our members informed about health issues in our area. The information provided is for your use in consultation with your vet for the best care for your dog.

You may have heard of a recent increase in incidence in a heart condition in dogs called DCM, or dilated cardiomyopathy that has been associated with feeding grain-free diets. While this problem is still under investigation by the FDA in conjunction with the veterinary community, there is more information available that we wanted to share with our members.

First, no Scottish Terriers are among the 560 dogs that were reported to the FDA for possible instance of diet-associated DCM. That doesn’t mean that Scotties are immune to problems of the heart, however DCM is not commonly found in our breed. (It’s typically been found in much larger dogs like Dobies, Goldens, and German Shepherds, along with certain spaniels.) Symptoms of DCM include shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, coughing especially upon first rising from sleep, and/or fainting. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, it can be an emergency situation, so consult your vet immediately.

Second, the FDA has released a list of the manufacturers whose foods have been associated with these conditions. This list is not saying that these manufacturers are liable, or that the foods are bad. However, if you are currently feeding a “grain-free” diet from one of these brands, you may want to research new options in conjunction with your veterinarian.

  1. Acana
  2. Zignature
  3. Taste of the Wild
  4. 4Health
  5. Earthborn Holistic
  6. Blue Buffalo
  7. Nature’s Domain
  8. Fromm
  9. Merrick
  10. California Natural
  11. Orijen
  12. Nature’s Variety
  13. NutriSource
  14. Nutro
  15. Rachael Ray Nutrish
from FDA report June 2019

The researchers have not yet determined what in these diets might be causing heart-related health problems in these dogs. There are no firm connections established between the lack of grain in the diets and the health issues. In the past, cats had seen increased incidence in heart issues when many commercial diets did not have sufficient levels of the amino acid taurine. In those case, supplementation with taurine reversed the issue. That is being examined in these cases of canine disease too (even though dogs’ requirements for amino acids are somewhat different than cats’). Along with questions about taurine and other necessary amino acids, the current hypotheses center around the use of peas, legumes, and/or potatoes in these diets, rather than an absence of grains — but again, nobody yet knows for sure what is happening in these cases.

From the FDA update:

“Another puzzling aspect of the recent spike in DCM cases is that they have occurred just in the last few years. The FDA is working with the pet food industry to better understand whether changes in ingredients, ingredient sourcing, processing or formulation may have contributed to the development of DCM.”

It can be frightening to think that the dog food we choose might hurt our beloved Scotties, and the news about DCM is concerning. Please remember though, that there are millions of dogs in America, and very, very small numbers of them appear to have been affected. The studies are ongoing, and the researchers have not yet found proof that it’s these specific diets that have caused the problem, or if it’s only correlated that these dogs were fed these diets, and it’s actually something else (such as treats, or pet shampoos, or who knows what). It’s even possible that the spike in reports has come about based on the coverage in the media, and that there have been a certain level of unreported incidents of DCM happening in all breeds of dogs for many years. We will be following these developments and sharing more information with you once it becomes available.

June 2019: Another Canine Influenza Outbreak in the Bay Area

Please note: SF Bay Scottish Terrier Club does not provide veterinary advice. However, we like to keep our members informed about health issues in our area. The information provided is for your use in consultation with your vet for the best care for your dog.

A local vet has reported to one of our members that the canine influence virus (CIV H3N2) has been confirmed in Oakland. Seven dogs at the Oakland Animal Shelter are confirmed to have the virus so far, and over 100 dogs are sick. 

This is a highly contagious virus and can make dogs very sick. The initial symptoms of this strain of CIV H3N2 are lethargy, low interest in activity, and tiredness, with decreased body temperature (temps around 96° F; normal temperature for dogs is around 101° F). Within a week, this moves to pneumonia and coughing. There is a 3- 4 day incubation period which means that dogs may have contracted the virus but have no symptoms at first. This disease is very contagious and an infected dog can infect other dogs for up to a month. This disease does not get transmitted to people, but it can be very bad for dogs.

You may want to avoid taking your dogs to the East Bay if you don’t live in that area, and if you do, do not take them to dog parks, kennels, day care, or other public places if at all possible. A vaccination is available which requires multiple shots over a 3-week period. The vaccination is not foolproof in preventing your dog from getting the virus but at minimum, it can help reduce symptoms. However, even if your dog is vaccinated, you may want to be cautious about bringing him to public places where the health status of other dogs is unknown.

Here is information from the American Veterinary Medical Association on Canine Influenza.

Please speak with your veterinarian about the right steps to take for your dog.

New Testing For Bladder Cancer

This Article was sent to me from Dr. Marcia Dawson DVM, the 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 www.stca.biz 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 AKC.org 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.



By SFBSTC Health Chairman 

Please note: SF Bay Scottish Terrier Club does not provide veterinary advice. However, we like to keep our members informed about health issues in our area. The information provided is for your use in consultation with your vet for the best care for your dog.

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 (aaha.org) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (avma.org), 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.




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.



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.







With the recent rains we would like to remind all Scottie families of the danger of wild mushrooms.  Club member Suzy Sheehan has allowed us to reprint an article she wrote twelve years ago regarding her beloved Scotties’ tragic encounter.

Suzy Sheehan’s letter in part:

In early December of 2004, my husband and I were the adoptive parents of three Scottish Terriers. We had had Cutty from the time she was eight weeks old and we were looking forward to her fifteenth birthday in January of2005. Angus, the lone male, was five years of age and had been with us since he was a puppy. Stella, all of sixteen weeks, had been with us only since early November.

Monday, December 6th was completely uneventful for us. The dogs ate their breakfast in. the morning and their dinner at 5:30 p.m. everyone had a good appetite. At about 2:00 a.m. on December 7th, we were awakened to Stella vomiting in her crate next to our bed. Her vomit was mostly clear bile mixed with a very few pieces of undigested dog food. We cleaned up both dog and crate and tried to get back to sleep. Within an hour we were awakened by Cutty vomiting. Unlike Stella’s, her vomit contained a great deal of undigested food. While we were cleaning Cutty and her bed, Stella vomited again.

At that point, I called our veterinary clinic, a 24 hour facility with a veterinarian on duty at all times. The recommendation was that we monitor things to’ see if this was just a minor problem or take further action if things deteriorated. Neither of us slept much for the remainder of the night; but we also had no more vomiting from either dog.

I first sensed a more serious problem when I tried to feed Stella her breakfast in the morning. She had no interest in food or water and sat staring into space. Cutty ate a little breakfast and drank water. By 8:00 a.m., I had Stella at the veterinary clinic.

The quick diagnosis was some sort of GI problem and the veterinarian asked to keep Stella at the clinic for a day of observation and hydration. At noon Cathy, our vet, called to say that Stella seemed fine and that we could pick her up around 5 pm. At 3 pm she called to say that Stella had taken a turn for the worse. I contacted my husband and he went home to check on both Cutty and Angus. He discovered that Cutty was experiencing diarrhea and was obviously in distress. He took her to the clinic immediately and she too was placed on IV. Numerous tests and ultra sounds of the liver were done on both dogs, the results of which showed their livers were failing.

Our veterinarian told us that all of the diagnostics suggested mushroom poisoning and that neither dog would likely make it through the night. Stella died in the early afternoon on the following day. Cutty was going down rapidly and we elected to euthanize her about twenty minutes after Stella had passed. A biopsy on Stella’s liver disclosed “with about 99 certainty” that the ingestion of all or part of a toxic mushroom had led to complete liver failure which killed her and, almost certainly, Cutty.

Based on our research we have concluded the following: There are no “harmless” mushrooms in the yard, any and all must be removed immediately and disposed of in the trash (not in a compost pile). There is no way to “non-scientifically identify whether or not a mushroom is a poison verity.

Links to additional information: