Posts From The Docs

We will be posting little tidbits of information and anecdotes from the vets here on our website.  Unless it says otherwise, these are generally posted by your friendly neighborhood vet, Dr. Kate Washabaugh.  Check in occasionally or “Like” us on Facebook to stay posted.  Thanks!

Celebrating Dr. Kate Peterson!

We had a lovely time celebrating our dear Dr. Kate Peterson last night.  I’ll save all the nice things that were said for another time.  For now I’ll post the pictures as evidence of our excellent retirement bash.  Dr. Peterson won’t be saying an official good bye for 2 more weeks, but it’s never too early for a party!


A Breed Apart Knows How To Do Puppy Up Right!

The A Breed Apart Team all together

The A Breed Apart Animal Hospital Team enjoying the sun in their fancy Puppy Up Tshirts

The A Breed Apart team and their cohorts

The kids and dogs couldn’t resist photobombing

The whole clinic turned out to attend the Puppy Up Madison dog walk for cancer research and we had a blast. It was a beautiful day, the dogs were happy, the kids were crazy, and the adults had fun seeing each other outside the clinic. We donned our fancy team t-shirts, walked our two miles, saw a lot of old friends (furry and not) and then headed to Dr. Kate’s house for some relaxation. That means lots of carbs, and lots of lazing around laughing at the endless energy of the young people and the canines that kept them running.

Next year we hope to see even more of you out there! And to those of you who donated on our behalf, we give you a big thank you. We’ve all been touched by cancer. Anything we can do to advance treatments for humans and furry friends is great.  And this organization does a lot to help.

The A Breed Apart team at Puppy Up Madison

A big thank you to Finn for his unending patience. It’s hard to keep up with Sofie!

An Announcement From Dr. Kate Peterson

We celebrate all of Dr. Peterson’s accomplishments and friendship as she prepares to embark on this next phase of her life.  While we are sad to see her depart from our clinic family, we are happy to see her take the time she deserves.  Please find her letter to all of you below:
Dear friends and clients,
I’m announcing my retirement as of June 1. I thank you for your faith in
me, and it has been my pleasure and privilege to serve you and your
pets. I have and still enjoy each day in veterinary medicine, but many
family commitments make my time too short to do both.
I have no doubt that A Breed Apart will continue to serve you in the
tradition of respect and compassion. I again thank you for allowing me
the honor of being part of the care of our furry friends.
Kate Peterson DVM

The Times Are Changing – Marijuana and Your Pet

There’s been a lot in the news lately about the medical merits of marijuana. Whatever your political views, it appears it’s going to be increasingly accessible, and even legal, in a number of states. So how does this impact the veterinary community and our pets? Well, for one thing, I expect we’ll start seeing a lot more toxicity cases. But, we are also starting to field questions about the medical use of this drug. Marijuana itself is not yet legal in Wisconsin, but different legal products are becoming available and they may be useful in managing some or our pet diseases.

The thing to understand is that CBD products do NOT contain THC, so we can already use them in our pets. Keep in mind, as with all non-FDA products, there is little regulation with these supplements, so be sure to talk to us about good sources if you decide to try one. We know in humans these products can help manage anxiety, help with sleep disorders, help with nausea, and even some types of seizures and pain. What’s potentially great about this group of drugs are the mild side effects. We really struggle with drugs in our dogs and cats as they effect the liver and kidneys as well as cause all kinds of awful side effects like nausea and increased urination. Other than some sedation and managing the “munchies”, it’s not looking like there’s a lot of bad things associated with these CBD products.

On the other hand, there is a down side to this fun little plant. We see A LOT of marijuana toxicity and animals can get really sick when they get too much. While they rarely die from THC toxicity, it can be a pretty expensive problem to manage. Toxicities like this typically take a little detective work on our part. Rarely does a client come in and tell us exactly what their dog ingested. Usually it starts off with the college teenager home for vacation reporting “he ate the pan of brownies”. Hmmm… then why does he seem so dopey instead of hyperanxious? Why won’t he vomit when we give him injections to make that happen? Why is his heart rate so slow, his pupils dilated, and he’s dripping urine? And why is he staring hungrily at my potato chips? With a little more “sensitive” questioning, we can usually pull out the truth – it wasn’t JUST chocolate in those brownies. Please always keep in mind – VETERINARIANS ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO REPORT MARIJUANA INGESTION. And we won’t. We’re just here to help.

So how do we help our doggies get through their bad “high”? Usually it comes down to fluid support and monitoring. Once the drug is on board it can be really difficult to vomit it up (that pesky anti-nausea side effect) and it can take a few days for this drug to work it’s way out. That means a lengthy hospital stay, but when they leave with their half eaten bag of Cheetos, they are usually just fine.

Its an interesting time to be a vet. There’s a lot of “old” drugs that are getting new life, new classes of drugs that are being invented everyday, and experimentation with drugs like marijuana that may offer some relief to our patients. We’ll keep you posted as new information in this field arises.


Puppy Up Madison!

Once again we are proud to join in the PuppyUp Madison fight against pet cancer!

Dr. Meyers and I have walked this with our various dogs and family members the last few years and it is always fun and rewarding. PuppyUp is a great foundation that helps fund cancer research. We’ve all been touched by cancer – either human or fuzzy friend – and it is undoubtedly horrible. We are pleased to help contribute to the effort to fight cancer.

This year more of the A Breed Apart Animal Hospital team members are joining us and you are all welcome to, as well.

Check out the PuppyUp website at: www.puppyupmadison.org and sign up with our team or make a donation.

We hope to see you on may 7th!

CPR Basics – Do You Know How To Save A Life?

It’s been a rough week here at A Breed Apart Animal Hospital. We’ve seen a lot of losses and it is always hard to lose pets we love and watch the people we’ve come to care about endure those losses. But, this post isn’t about the pain of loss. I’m here to tell you about a success story.

This morning we had a patient here waiting for a procedure. Just sitting in her cage. One of our fabulous technicians was settling someone else in when our little trouble maker suddenly cried out and dropped over. Katie kept a cool head, grabbed her out and immediately rushed her over to the vets. Dr. Meyers assessed her – no breathing! No heartbeat! And quickly started compressions. I started mouth-to-nose resuscitation, the techs scrambled for oxygen. All seemed lost. And then… a breath. And we could hear the heart. And within 5 minutes our friend was up and looking around like she was pretty darn proud of herself. Obviously, we have some work to do, but the little girl went home with her relieved mom today and we count that as a win.

Do you know what to do if your pet suddenly stopped breathing? Do you know what to do if a human being does? Everyone should know the basics of CPR (it’s not so different for pets and humans in the end). Check out these links as a start. You never know when you might need to save a life.



Holiday Tips From Your Vet


The holidays are here – the trees are decorated, the candles lit, and the parties begun. That means lots of fun for you and your families, and lots of opportunities for your pets to find trouble. We’ve already been seeing the negative effects of holiday celebrations here so be sure to have a happy and SAFE holiday everyone!

Our number one holiday danger is chocolate toxicity in dogs. We’ve already had lots of chocolatey vomiting here (you can thank me for not posting a picture of that!) thanks to the little chocolates left in that bowl on the table, that package of fancy chocolate under the tree, and the baking goodies on the counter while someone stepped away. Keep in mind that chocolate can cause neurologic, cardiac, and GI effects that can last up to 72 hours. So be sure to call us for decontamination advice if you have a problem. It’s always rewarding to see that chocolate come back up (only a vet would say that!).

We also see a lot of kitty foreign bodies at this time of year – think tinsel. If you have a cat, please please please watch the ribbon on your presents and be sure to keep tinsel out of the house completely. Climbing the tree can be a problem, but consuming the items on it is an even bigger issue. We’d love to avoid giving you the gift of ribbon from your cat’s intestinal tract for Christmas this year!

You’d be surprised to hear that many cats have an affinity for some human antidepressants like Effexor. They’ll just snap it up the second you drop it on the floor. Let’s face it, the holidays can be stressful and may require a little extra pharmaceutical support for us humans so be careful with the happy drugs as you’re handling them.

Finally, if you have kid relatives that give you those very attractive salt dough ornaments to hang on your tree, and if you have a dog, hang them high. Salt dough is tasty for dogs and can be super toxic due to the high sodium content. Of course, then you don’t have to worry about toppling your tree with that five pound ornament anymore.

Hopefully your holidays are uneventful and happy. And most of all safe. But if you have a problem, we are available by phone until 9pm each day so be sure to check in.

Peace Everyone.

Baby It’s Cold Outside!


Wow! It’s really darn cold out there!  Stay warm and safe and cuddle up with your fuzzy friends inside.  But if you must venture out (or they are hankering for an excursion) here’s a few winter tips:

  • Consider coats or sweaters as well as booties for cold feet. An ugly Christmas sweater is just what every little Yorkie needs. Your cat will just love you for it, too (while they plot to kill you in your sleep).
  • If your pet loves being outside no matter the weather, be sure they have an insulated shelter and unfrozen drinking water. In this extreme cold, no pet should be outside for long. Go cuddle up by the fire instead!
  • Know your pet’s limits – shorten walks and yard visits according to their tolerance. I know a couple Malamutes who are loving this weather. They’re the only ones!
  • Avoid dangers like frozen ponds/lakes, clean up antifreeze carefully (and keep it out of reach in the garage!), and use pet-safe de-icers on your walks. If you think your dog got into antifreeze, be sure to call us ASAP – it’s super toxic.
  • Wipe down cold feet when you come in. We often have reports that pets are holding up a leg – it may be due to the general cold, ice crusted between the pads, or salt irritating the feet.
  • Always inspect feet for signs of irriation from environmental contaminants and the sharp ice that coats the sidewalks. If you see abrasions or your pet is sensitive, consider using a product like Musher’s wax (or other beeswax based coating) or booties. Do not use lotion or other products that soften the pads. I’ve seen a couple good on-line recipes for homemade pad wax (beeswax, calendula oil, avocado oil and coconut oil melted together) – use those Google skills!
  • Never leave your pet unattended in your vehicle
  • Critters, including cats, like to climb up into the warm engine compartment of your car. If you live in an area with lots of outdoor cats, keep that in mind. Some people give a good honk before starting things up. The outcome if you don’t is NOT pretty.

If you have specific concerns about your pet’s safety in this cold weather, be sure to talk to us!

SMILE! She’s Back!


Family. We have all kinds. There’s the ones you see at Thanksgiving, the ones you spent your childhood with, the friends that become family, the furry creatures who join in. And there’s the family you create in your different worlds. One of the things I love about A Breed Apart is the family we’ve created here.

There have been some special people who have worked here through the years and it’s been hard to let them go when they need to move on. I couldn’t be happier to say that we have successfully brought one of these people back home to us. After almost two years of absence, one of our favorite CVTs, Chris Evers, will be rejoining us as of November 14th! We’ve really struggled to find that perfect fit since she’s been gone and now we don’t have to!

You will now have the full Veterinary Technician team of Chris, Melissa, Katie, and Julie at your service and we will be back to full force here. What a relief!!!! These fabulous CVTs promise me they’re not going anywhere for a long time (right ladies?!?).

So good to have the family together again!

They Miss You!


People often ask us whether their pets experience depression. In short, the answer is “yes”.

Just like us dogs and cats are creatures of habit and when there is a big shake up to their social structure or schedule, it can lead to behavioral changes including destructive behaviors. This is especially a problem at this time of year. The school year is under way and kids and educators are back in the pattern of being gone all day after a summer of fun and chaotic households. While some pets (and parents!) may relish the peace of the new school year, many cats and dogs struggle to adjust to the long absences and decreased exercise. As you set your new school year schedule, be sure to leave a little time to give some attention to the furry family members and be sure exercise is still on the “to do” list.

The leaves are falling and the weather is cooling – it’s a great time to get out on a walk or curl up with a book and a friend who misses you.