206.323.4433 2115 - 23rd Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98144

Please Excuse our “Dust” as We Go Greener!

Under ConstructionIn our continued efforts to improve our abilities to care for the needs of you and your pet, we are in the process of “going greener.” Starting in early November, we’ll begin our transition to electronic medical records and digital X-ray radiography, a process that will require a few months to complete.

Our purpose in these improvements is to enrich the human element of our services, an important and enjoyable part of our work. The changes will enhance our internal and external communications; increase our efficiency; and improve patient care – our primary concern.

For example, you’ll soon be able to access your pet’s physical exam notes, laboratory results, X-rays, discharge instructions, and preventive care reminders right from home.

Digital X-ray will give us higher-quality diagnostic images and faster turn-around on reports from the radiologist – from days down to hours.

We’re very excited! We’ve been prepping for these changes for months and upgrading our computer hardware. Staff training begins at the end of October. Unfortunately, we anticipate a bit of temporary “construction dust” as we transition, and sincerely appreciate your feedback, positive or otherwise.

The changes are a big endeavor, and we’re bound to have a few temporary glitches along the way as we move beyond paper charts and chemical-laden X-ray films to efficient, concise electronic records and digital radiographs. If we make a mistake or miss something, please call it to our attention right away and we’ll do everything we can to fix the problem.

For example, we recently had a few cats receive dog reminders as we were making adjustments to our computer coding (Sorry! Our sincerest apologies to our kitty patients – we know you’re not a dog!).

Thank you for your continued good faith, friendship, and feedback. It’s sincerely appreciated.

Dr. Laura Monahan, Owner

A Match Made in Heaven… Again

Three weeks ago Saturday I received a frantic call at 6 a.m. from my sister-in-law in Massachusetts. Early morning phone calls are never good news. As I picked up the receiver, a flush of dread washed over me.

My SIL was so choked with emotion, it took a couple of tries to figure out what had happened. Turns out, she had been caring for my mother-in-law’s beloved dog, Suki, for the weekend. Suki had slipped out through a tiny hole in the backyard fence and was killed on the road in front of her home. I offered to call my MIL to break the sad news. As a veterinarian, I’ve had more experience with that sad task, but it’s never easy.

My MIL is a recent widow and lives alone. Suki was her constant companion. I placed Suki, a rescued Coton de Tulear I found through www.petfinder.com, with her seven years ago. She doted on the fluffy pooch like a small child, and her grown children feigned jealousy. She was stoic when I gave her the sad news of Suki’s passing, but she rang off quickly. I knew she was crushed.

I immediately turned to www.petfinder.com again, my very favorite website, to start the task of finding another dog for her, having no idea when she would be ready, if ever, to open her heart to another dog.

There are so many dogs on Petfinder that need homes. A cute little Havanese mix named Star stood out as a possible match, but she was located in New Jersey, six hours away. I submitted an application for Star on behalf of my MIL and waited, holding my breath.

A week later, I finally had the courage to approach my MIL with the difficult question: “Are you ready for another dog?”

Her answer was a resounding – and unexpected — “Yes!”

I immediately phoned the rescue organization in New Jersey who had lovingly fostered Star back to health from a previous life of neglect. They informed me that they’d had no less than 30 applications for Star, but if my MIL would drive down to meet Star within 24 hours, they’d move her to the top of the list.

I phoned my MIL back with the news and got an even bigger surprise – this senior widow, mother of six, ultimate planner, and organizer extraordinaire would be ready to leave within the hour for the six-hour road trip to somewhere in New Jersey. My jaw dropped; her courage, adventurous spirit, and spontaneity amazed me. My sister-in-law threw her toothbrush and pajamas in a bag and rode along — Thelma-and-Louise-style, 2012 edition.

And so it goes. Little Miss Star, surrendered by her original owner with hair so matted she had to be shaved to the skin, was riding shotgun the next day, on her way to her new forever home in Massachusetts. Star has no idea what a wonderful life is in store for her, but this now fluffy little wiggle butt has already charmed the badly bruised heart of a senior lady.

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Join Us at the Furry 5K This Sunday

This Sunday, June 10, marks the 13th Annual Furry 5k, a popular local event that’s an important fundraiser for the Seattle Animal Shelter.

Held at nearby Seward Park, participants can walk or run (with or without their dogs) the 3-mile loop around the park. The atmosphere of the event is one big celebration! And, it’s great exercise for you and your pooch.

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital participates in the Furry 5k as one of our community outreach programs. And, interacting with all the people and dogs wonderfully enjoyable!

Look for our booth. We’ve got staff on hand to answer questions, a free drawing with cool prizes for people and for dogs, treats, and free promotional items.

So finish your coffee a little earlier this Sunday morning, step into your athletic shoes, roust your pooch if you choose, and join us help the animals! We’ll be glad to see you.

You can register online at www.furry5k.com or at the event.

About The Seattle Animal Shelter

Since its beginning in 1972, the Seattle Animal Shelter has helped thousands of people and their pets. SAS finds loving, responsible homes for orphaned animals through its animal shelter; educates citizens regarding responsible pet ownership; provides a low cost spay/neuter program; enforces animal control ordinances; investigates animal cruelty and abuse; and reunites lost pets with their owners. SAS is located in the Interbay neighborhood of Seattle between Magnolia and Ballard on 15th Avenue West (one mile south of the Ballard Bridge).

Help the Animals Fund

The Help the Animals Fund was established in 1977 to provide veterinary care and supplies for sick, injured and abused shelter animals. The fund also supports a variety of other programs, including public education, volunteer programs and foster care programs. The shelter receives no funds from the City of Seattle to provide vet care for adoptable animals. It is through donations that we are able to provide life-saving veterinary care.

Seattle Animal Shelter’s veterinary expenses total $104,000 per year and every year the need grows greater. The Help the Animals Fund relies solely on donations from individuals, companies and SAS fundraising events such as the Furry 5K. Without the Help the Animals Fund, many of our shelter animals could not be saved.

All of the proceeds from Furry 5K will go to the Help the Animals Fund. All donations to the fund are tax deductible.

Create a Disaster Preparedness Plan for Your Pets

One year ago today a catastrophic tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, severely damaging or destroying a large number of homes, leaving pet owners and pets with no place to stay. Animal control officers were overwhelmed with more than 1,300 pets requiring emergency medical care and shelter.

When natural disasters like this $2.8 billion tornado occur, it is a quandary for all parties involved. Resources must be quickly obtained and organized, and lives — both humans and animals — are at stake.

Volunteers in Joplin worked around the clock to rescue, identify, provide medical attention, comfort, house, and feed pets separated from their owners in the mayhem and confusion that followed the massive disaster. Many pets eventually made it back to their owners, but a large number did not and were euthanized or adopted out across the country. Similar scenes ensued after Hurricane Katrina and the recent floods in Iowa and Mississippi.


Sixty-three percent of Americans have a feline friend, canine companion, or other type of pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. When disaster strikes, pets are often lost or have no place to stay if owners must move to a shelter or a temporary home that cannot accommodate them.

Planning and preparing our family and pets for the unexpected can provide a huge sense of relief now – and perhaps save lives later. What should be included in a disaster preparedness plan?

First, pet owners need to identify friends and family outside their regions who are less likely to be affected by the same disaster and ensure that pets are properly identified. Pet ID tag information should be current and pets need to be microchipped.

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital carries the new, 15-digit, universal ResQ microchips. These microchips can be placed under the skin on the back of the neck during a quick nurse visit and cost $46. Your contact information can be quickly and easily updated as needed online any time at no additional cost.

Second, have an emergency kit for your pets. The kit should include:

  • A crate
  • Extra leashes
  • Photos of your pets
  • Contact information for Atlantic Veterinary Hospital
  • Your pets’ microchip information
  • A pet first aid kit
  • A supply of pet food and any medications

Chocolate Poisoning Requires Immediate Attention

Easter morning was a bit of disaster at my house. Jester, our black lab mix, helped himself to two 16-ounce milk chocolate bunnies from stocked baskets the Easter Bunny had mistakenly left on the couch, within easy reach of a dog nose.

Fortunately, Jester is a large dog and it was milk chocolate. Other than some mild intestinal distress and a very wired pooch, things went okay. We were lucky!

Recently, another patient at Atlantic Veterinary Hospital wasn’t so lucky. A 26-pound dog, he helped himself to a 3-ounce 70% dark chocolate he found in a purse left on the floor. The dog suffered a severe reaction which would have been life threatening if he hadn’t received immediate, life-saving treatment.

His wise owner called us right away, and after calculating the chocolate-to-dog-weight ratio, we advised immediate veterinary care. The owner arrived in minutes; we induced vomiting and started emergency care, but it was a rough afternoon for the dog and owner until the signs of toxicity improved over several hours. Fortunately, another happy ending.

Theobromide and caffeine, found in most chocolates, are toxic to dogs and cats if they ingest enough – and it doesn’t take much, especially in small pets that eat dark or baking chocolate.

If you find evidence your pet has eaten chocolate, please seek immediate medical attention.

During business hours, clients may call Atlantic Veterinary Hospital for advice, at (206) 323-4433.

After hours, call the nearest veterinary emergency facility or the ASPCA National Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

You’ll need to know your pet’s weight, the type and amount of chocolate eaten, and when the pet ate the chocolate.

Here’s an article with more information about chocolate toxicity in dogs and cats.

Image: Jeroen van Oostrom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, April 28th

Every year, thousands of pets and children accidentally ingest medications that were not intended for them, often making them very ill or even killing them.

Finally, there’s a better way to dispose of expired or unused drugs than flushing them down the toilet (where they contaminate our water supply), tossing them in the trash, or leaving them to gather dust in the medicine cabinet.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is sponsoring the 4th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, April 28, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Drop-off expired or unused medications (human or pet) at Atlantic Veterinary Hospital through noon this Saturday and we’ll take them to a disposal site for you along with our expired inventory.

Or, check-out the Office of Diversion Control website to find the nearest medication collection sites.

Americans that participated in the DEA’s 3rd National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on October, 2011, turned in more than 188.5 tons of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal.

Please protect your family, both the two- and four-legged members, and clean out your medicine cabinet.

Fleas: Like Ticks on Pogo Sticks

More than an itchy nuisance, fleas are blood-sucking, disease-spreading insects.

They’ve been around since before the dinosaurs, yet were wily enough to survive whatever it was that ended the dinosaurs’ reign.

Besides causing itchy misery, fleas can spread diseases like tapeworms and life-threatening bacteria. Fleas can also kill young animals by causing severe anemia (think vampire style).

They were responsible for spreading the bacteria that causes The Plague, a disease that killed thousands in Europe during the Dark Ages and is still found today in places as near as Eastern Oregon.

Seattle-area flea-transmitted bacteria

One type of flea-transmitted bacteria we frequently see in Seattle cats is Mycoplasma haemofelis. Similar to Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (spread by ticks), M. haemofelis attacks cats’ red blood cells and causes severe anemia and jaundice. It is quickly fatal if left untreated.

Cats infected with M. haemofelis come into the hospital severely depressed and vomiting. They often have a fever and pale white, yellow-tinged gums from the severe anemia caused by red blood cell destruction. Diagnosing the underlying cause of the profound anemia requires laboratory tests because other diseases have similar clinical signs.

Treating M. haemofelis

After diagnosing M. haemofelis, cats are treated with appropriate antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs for 2-3 weeks. Some cats require expensive, life-saving blood transfusions and several days in the hospital. While treatment usually improves the anemia, affected cats may remain carriers and a reservoir for fleas to bite, then spread the bacteria to the next cat.

How to prevent M. haemofelis

Thankfully, preventing M. haemofelis in cats is much easier these days with regular, year around use of topical flea preventive medications, such as Revolution and EasySpot (similar to Frontline).

With our temperate weather, we see fleas in all seasons in Seattle, although the heaviest concentration is typically July through October. Ask us how to help protect your kitty!

Green Power = Green Discount at AVH

As the weather starts to warm and we’re all thinking spring, we encourage you to make use of our Green Discount.  Atlantic Veterinary Hospital is the only veterinary hospital we know of that offers one.

Energy use makes our biggest impact on environment. So, if you walk, ride your bike, carpool, or use public transportation to reach our hospital, we thank you by offering a 5% discount on all products and services during your visit.

We continue to explore additional ways to make our hospital more environmentally responsible, from the energy, water and supplies we use, to the products we stock and recommendations we make.

For example:

  • We support Seattle City Light’s Green Power Program. The Green Power Program funds local renewable energy demonstration projects in Seattle and the suburban areas that City Light serves. It also funds renewable energy education and training programs for teachers, students, and the general public.
  • We use LED and fluorescent lighting throughout the hospital
  • All office and cleaning paper products we use are made of 100% recycled materials
  • We compost, reuse, and recycle everything we possibly can
  • All of our cleaning and laundry products (except small amounts of necessary disinfectants) are biodegradable and environmentally safe
  • All our appliances are Energy Star rated
  • During our recent mini remodel, we used environmentally-friendly paint and other products
  • Our new email reminder system decreases the amount of paper used for reminders

Share your ideas with us about how we can continue to decrease our carbon footprint!

Saying Goodbye to Bogie

Eleven months ago we welcomed a sweet old Labrador into our family that we found on PetFinder.com, my very favorite website.

His name was Bogart and he’d been a “throw away dog” that someone abandoned and someone else had rescued. He couldn’t wag his tail. His spine had been pelted with buckshot. And he had very severe arthritis everywhere, so a lumbering walk was all he could muster – forget about a trot or run.

Despite his tough history, Bogie was the sweetest gentleman with soulful brown eyes, perfect manners, and a sense of humor that began to shine as we treated his arthritis and loved him up. Even our cats tolerated him (because he ignored them). He started to run after squirrels two months after we adopted him, and at Christmas he lifted and wagged his tail for the first time.

Sadly, Bogie passed away unexpectedly in his sleep last week while we were out-of-town for the weekend and he was being cared for by a very nice and caring pet sitter in our home. My heart is very heavy, even though I know his passing was peaceful. We didn’t get to say goodbye.

The memories of his brown eyes looking up at me, asking for dinner, or his strong snout lifting my arm, wanting some petting while I tried to type are all I have (that, and some dog hair on the couch). Although we didn’t have an autopsy performed, most likely he died of a tumor common in older, large breed dogs. The tumor is called a hemangiosarcoma; it hides quietly on the liver or spleen until it decides to hemorrhage internally and there’s nothing that can be done.

Losing a beloved family pet is never easy, but the love they give us is always greater than the pain of their loss, even when our hearts are broken, as mine is. Thank you, Bogie, for giving us your best, even when your bones hurt and you had every reason to distrust humans.  I’m missing you, old boy.

Veterinary Medicine: It’s a Person-Pet-Vet Connection

On Valentine’s Day we celebrate relationships – not just romantic relationships, but the bond we have with all the people who make our world a better place.

In this fast-paced, online, corporate world, it’s the relationships with people we often miss – REAL people. I’d rather speak to a real person on the other end of the telephone line, even if I have to hold for a few minutes, than a corporation’s telephone tree, or worse yet, a “talking” computer voice.

Have you ever felt more ridiculous than when talking to a computerized “help” line, the likes that utility and airline companies now use? How much more impersonal can you get?

When people learn I’m a veterinarian, I invariably hear, “Wow, you must love animals!”

My answer: “Yes, but I love the people part of my job just as much.”

Every animal we see comes with a person.

Working in a family-owned veterinary practice that has been in the neighborhood for more than 50 years, we’re privy to some amazing relationships that have developed between Atlantic Veterinary Hospital and our clients. We thrive on the people parts of our jobs and enjoy the relationships we develop as we work together to care for four-legged family members.

I like to get to know the people behind the pets.

When I’m putting in a late night finishing medical charts, working through my lunch time to answer the many calls that come into the practice every day, or missing dinner with my family to care for a sick pet, knowing that I’m working for people I care about makes it worthwhile. In fact, our veterinary oath includes a promise to protect human health.

It’s all about person-to-person-to pet relationships

And I promise you will never, ever talk to a computer when you call us. You’ll get a real person on the phone or answering your email, one who wants to help you or put you in contact with someone who can. Veterinary medicine is just as much about people as it is about animals. Thank you for being in relationship with us.

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Seattle serves the following neighborhoods: Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Seward Park, Capitol Hill, Leschi, Central District, Madison Valley, International District, and Georgetown.