Category Archives: Recommendations

As part of Veterinary Care, recommendations and advice are huge. Whole-istic approach to vet medicine gives comprehensive management instead of a pill as needed.

Covid 19: How a 3 Week Lockdown Could Stop the Pandemic

Covid 19: Why, and interestingly HOW a 3 Week Lockdown Could Impact the Pandemic

First, this is a little bit like some Liberal College Students saying “The US should pay for free college educations and free health care” (Not thinking about whether it’s actually even possible.)

So when I mention a 3 week total lock-down for a 99% reduction in virus transmission  – and a hard-stop to the pandemic….I realize that’s never happening because many Americans are thinking: “I’m too young to die from Covid, so…. Who’s going to the beach with me?”

But. If we all went indoors for three weeks – -the virus would infect no more people. While we were all hiding indoors, people at home or in the hospital who are infected with the virus would die or get well (they’re doing that anyway) and at the end of three weeks we’d walk out into a nation where everyone’s either OVER it, or UNinfected.

The following video is NOT banging the “lockdown drum” at all. It’s just an EASY education on how pandemics work and can be managed. Extremely useful.

>> COVID3 >>

Please watch this video on Youtube.

Hand Sanitizer? No I Like Ethanol Spray Better

Hand Sanitizer? No, I Like Ethanol Spray Better

Note to my family on how to protect themselves. Personal.

Hand sanitizer is great. Above 60% ethanol it’s effective. But it’s not great for keypads, door handles, chair-arms, etc.

You go to the gas station and are confronted with a LOT to touch that may have corona virus on it. So when my spouse mentioned we could be using ethanol spray, I was piqued. So she made up some pure ethanol and essential oil spray  and it works great. So much more versatile than gels.

I like my little spray bottles with ethanol, I add a drop of essential oils to make it smell better and avoid so much drying on my hands. (I don’t like gloves very much.)

alcohol source for covid-19

Buying ethanol / alcohol from medical / pharmacy sources is right out, now. They barely have any. But most of the time you can still find STRONG alcohols at 190 proof, at the liquor store.

coronavirus sanitizer

And that’s what you need. I prefer “Everclear” but “Gold Grain” is the same basic idea. 190 Proof is 95% pure alcohol.

covid-19 fprotection from ethanol
Doterra “Whisper” smells great and a little tiny bottle goes a long way at 3 drops per pint of ethanol you make.

Your hands are one of the main routes that viruses make their way from surfaces to your respiratory system, so keeping them clean is one of the most effective things you can do to stop yourself contracting the virus. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water where possible and if you can’t get to a sink, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser will do the trick.

While the effectiveness of alcohol gels depends on the virus being targeted – which is why some alcohol hand rubs aren’t very effective against norovirus – the coronavirus has an envelope structure which alcohol can attack. Hand sanitisers with more than 60 per cent alcohol content are most effective at killing microbes.*


Why I Don’t Like Gloves For Contagion-Containment-Avoidance

Summary of gloves: Use hand sanitizer a LOT with your gloves. Your skin will thank you. But so will your environment:

I don’t like gloves for prevention of contagions. People put gloves on, and then they touch everything. I mean, EVERYTHING all day from light switches to paperwork to equipment, medical keypads, bags of fluids and never think:

The FIRST thing the glove-wearer touched had Corona on it. Fortunately, and as intended, the virus was intercepted by the gloves. The virus is on the gloves. But for folks wearing gloves, the gloves have largely replaced hand sanitizing: So everything those gloves touch *after* that becomes contaminated with the virus. Later (at any point within 3 days) a person is NOT wearing gloves and handles all those unsanitized, glove-touched surfaces. There you go.

Irony: Person wearing ink-stained, obviously-day-old exam gloves touches his face. There you go.
Here’s the worst part about gloves. When you take them off:
Your first hand is gloved and removed that contaminated other glove. Then your ungloved hand takes off the contaminated OTHER glove. There you go.
Summary of gloves: Use hand sanitizer a LOT with your gloves. Your skin will thank you. But so will your environment:

What Are The Perfect Conditions to Make or Keep Fish Healthy?

Perfect Aquarium, Hospital Tank, or Quarantine? Everything Perfect to Make or Keep Fish Healthy

There are a few essential criteria for improving fish health and if you’re not already “doing it thusly” perhaps it’s time. There are TONS of ways to “do it right” but the following is how I treat fish, and house my tropicals. Goldfish benefit from all the same. At my house, this isn’t just for hospital tanks. This is exactly how I keep my community tanks.

A Perfect Environment?

For fish to recover from diseases and disorders they should experience minimal crowding, clean, pH-balanced well aerated water, good food and hiding places. Subtle differences exist in pH requirements among fish but the regular hobbyist will do fine with 'neutral'. 

  • Less than 1" of fish per gallon water in tank

  • 78 degrees Fahrenheit

  • pH regulated to neutral

  • High aeration and pristine filtration

  • Biologically active nitrogen reduction

To provide the ULTIMATE in hospital / treatment tank water, sponge filtration is THE BEST. 
The filter at right fits in a 20 gallon tank but it's made for 120 gallons, and would be many times the needed filtration but you can't have "too much" but here's a link to other sizes with the correct pore size. Aquaneat has the right pore size. 

Sponge filtration is great because it won't suck up the fish, not even baby fish. And it colonizes super fast and it's easy to clean. It runs with an aerator, not electricity. So the "power" is OUTSIDE the tank. Better still, that makes the tank essentially 'silent' but very well aerated. Because the aerators are sometimes noisy, I hide the aerator and run a long supply line to the tank. At home, I run an Aquascape Pro Air 60 with a supply line from outside the house. 
On a small tank use THIS ONE
At right, an air pump good for up to 500 gallons. I own 4 of these 45L units and they run for literally: YEARS

You have to get air from the air pump gang valve to the filter. I really, really like silicon airline tubing and if you haven't used it, you're in for a treat because it has no memory and so when it unrolls is straightens out, and drapes, instead of trying to roll back up. 
At right, is a BIG FAT roll of silicone tubing. You could be two or three PACKS of tubing, or this practically "lifetime supply" roll for about the same money. 

78 degrees is good for any fish recovering from an illness and accelerates clearance of white spot. 78 degrees also bolsters the fish immune response to fungal infections. 
Getting 78 degrees is easy with tank heaters, and my favorite is titanium, with an easy to read LED display and controls ON THE CORD and not on the unit. See the unit at right. It's all that. Also, it's 400W which means in a tank of 20-30 gallons it can hit the mark with minimal "on" time. The heater you see at right is too big for a ten gallon tank. 
You could use one of THESE for a 10 gallon. 

The system you put the fish into has to have biologically active media - beneficial germs that digest nitrogen. It's easy to get these from a healthy system already at equillibrium. Even the pet shop may spare you some media-squeezings.  At right, click the button to read about how to "bio-seed" a new system

There are tons of ways to bring and hold a pH to "neutral" which is the "important" thing. My preference, among LOTS of good ways to peg the pH, especially in a hospital or quarantine, is SeaChem's Neutral Regulator
They make a "liquid" version  but what I have noticed about liquid pH regulators is LACK OF ECONOMY.
Beginners could apply a dose to their tanks once a week and avoid pH issues forever.

So you set up a quarantine or hospital facility and you're seeing cloudiness in the water, and some cloudiness is okay if it's mineral haze but if it's bacterial you need to knock it down. You can use a water clarifier which works AMAZINGLY with a sponge filter as above. In tanks, the one at right (Accu-Clear) is the best. 
There's a POND version of clarifier that works well with a little better economy. 

A substrate in a fish tank or hospital tank also colonizes with beneficial bacteria and is a welcome sight to sick fish. I left gravel behind in my tanks about 6 years ago and never looked back. I use black sand. I've used black Fluorite. It's good too. The thing about black sand is that it intensifies colors in fish and it doesn't coagulate a bunch of fish poop. I get little snowdrifts of fish poop SOMETIMES but normally the poop gets swept up into my sponge filters.  

Azo and Cranberries for Dogs

Folks sometimes call the office looking for something they can do for their dog til it can get seen, or over the weekend, or just IN CONJUNCTION with a standard treatment.

And they ask about AZO, AZO Standard. Which is FINE to ask about except it turns out, the compound in AZO STANDARD is toxic to dogs.

Azo Cranberry, on the other hand, can be soothing, and it makes it harder for bacteria and inflammation to occupy the bladder and urethra.

Currently, Azo Cranberry isn’t made with Xylitol (it’s been years since manufacturers used Xylitol in anything that was possibly going to be used for dogs and cats. They’ve gone to sorbitol for the most part but MAKE NO ASSUMPTIONS and look. Xylitol can be toxic to dogs.

These are Azo Cranberry gummie chews and perhaps they'd be better taken by pets? The tablets may be better suited to embedding in peanut butter, cheese or your favorite form of pill disguise. 

This is the tablet version. You can use "the adult dose" per 50 pounds of dog. That means if the 12 to adult dose is 2 tabs twice a day, go with that. If you're treating a little dog, consider quarters to halves. Still, the margin of safety on 'pure cranberry' is high. 
When treating dogs up to 120 pounds consider increasing the dose by 50% (Means 3 tabs instead of two)

I would add, that if some dog-breeder message board is running off telling people to use "just any" Azo, or they're recommending another Azo, (for example the one with the extra chemistry in it) AND you try it, AND it works and doesn't wreck your dog's kidneys or mentation, please let me know. That is COMMONLY a way I learn new things, is treating things the breeder message boards cause, SOMETIMES for better, SOMETIMES for worse. 

To wit: 
"Phenazopyridine hydrochloride in dogs
Phenazopyridine, found in products such as Pyridium, is an OTC medication used to urinary tract infections and other urinary problems. This medication may be toxic to pets and should never be administered to animals. ... Presumptive hepatotoxicity and rhabdomyolysis secondary to phenazopyridine toxicity in a dog."

How Dogs Are Supposed to Eat

How Dogs Are Supposed to Eat

  • A puppy eats BIG
  • A stray eats BIG

A normal dog eats dry dog food with little interest, may even skip meals.

You have to add something to the dry food to keep them eating ‘well’ at every feeding, but then they go past “lean” and into fat.

A dog’s waist should be exactly 75% of the diameter of the chest*.  

  1. A 12 inch chest should have a 9 inch waist.
  2. A 20 inch chest should have a 15 inch waist.
  3. A 30 inch chest should have a 23 inch waist.
*exceptions exist in greyhounds and Salukis which may be < 2/3rds the chest.

When a dog is eventually at a healthy weight it will get PICKY about dry dog food. If we left it at that, our dogs would never get fat.

At that point it’s your call whether you mix something in the dry food to coaxe a lean dog to eat, or simply let her eat per her needs, and stay lean.

“She stopped liking her food. She just wouldn’t eat it.”

This is because they don’t NEED many calories when they’re mostly indoors, lean and healthy.

If I don’t say something about a dog’s overweight it means I gave up. It suggests the dog is an ornament or plaything, not a real creature.

The leading killer of dogs is overweight impacts on heart, airway and joints.

The number one owner error is struggling to convince an overweight dog to eat.

“If I don’t mix something in his dry food he won’t eat it.”

“Yes he will, he’ll regain an interest when he loses a little weight on his bratty hunger strike and he realizes you aren’t going to cave in.”

“No, I let him go hungry for two straight days looking at his dry food, then I gave him his usual milk shake, his peanut butter, Skittles and his bacon, so he wouldn’t die.”

“You just made my entire point.”

controlling overweight in dogs

dogs that are fat

Lantus (Glargine) for Cats Diabetes Mellitus

Lantus for cats

The use of glargine for the control of diabetes in cats

A lot of the following is irrelevant at this point, because Lantus has become quite expensive. I recall a day recently when it was as little as $100 – $110 a bottle. Manufacturers now are leveraging the absolute necessity of insulin and raising prices drastically. I am using very little if any Lantus with my patients, even though it is a superior insulin.

Here are some Lantus / Glargine notes from practice:

Firstly, I would not use Lantus and a cat that is being regulated from a condition of some instability. When they’re freshly diagnosed and only then being reigned in. It is not going to drastically or quickly lower the glucose levels and if the pet is a diabetic keto acidosis case, you probably should be using a faster insulin.

I have had good success mixing a regular and NPH insulin together for fast and slow effect during the initial phase of stabilizing the patient.
In pets that are not decompensated, their hydration status is decent and their blood sugars are under 400, I don’t feel an urgent need for instant control and I will happily use Lantus in those cats. Twice a day dosing.

What I like about Glargine, or Lantus and cats is that it’s onset of action is mild and it seems to stay up a bit longer than other insulins, in other words the blood sugars have a tendency to be more stable for a longer period of time.
It is interesting to note that almost 30% of cats being given Lantus will convert to non-diabetic status if only temporarily, requiring less and less insulin until they are in no need of insulin at all.

In practice, I have seen that to be extremely rare in cats that are getting a Humulin or NPH insulin.
It is not enough of a “selling point“ to recommend Lantus at its considerable expense. I mean the “outside chance“ that the cat will convert to non-diabetic status.
I have seen approximately the same incidence of insulin resistance develop against Lantus as I have the other available insulins.

I am prone to a deviation from the normal recommendation as far as insulin: It is commonly recommended that you would give your insulin shot and then feed. That way the insulin is in the system as the blood glucose comes up postprandially. I’m not crazy about this because if the cat decides not to eat after you’ve given the shot, you’ve made quite a commitment haven’t you?

So my advice to owners is to give the cat it’s food and almost as soon as it is done eating to go ahead and give the insulin shot. Under those circumstances there is always insulin on board for the food it has just eaten, but there is never insulin on board if the cat has not eaten. Problem solved.

If a cat does not eat, it gets half dose insulin. If the cat does not eat yet again (it’s evening meal for example), then it would get no insulin and the office should be consulted.

The sooner you get over to these type of aquarium heaters, the happier you will be

erik johnson podcast
This 400W titanium heater knocked the bottom out of the titanium heater market arriving twenty dollars under the nearest competitor with twice the power and 5 star reviews. I use them everywhere in the office and at home.

I have owned just about every kind of aquarium heater over the years from the ancient glass hang on heaters to the newest titanium bodied heaters. The price on the titanium heaters has come down to one that is very reasonable and fully worth it. Have a listen to my brief podcast on choosing an aquarium heater and why you should consider buying titanium.

erik johnson podcast



Inherited a Koi Pond III

Inherited a Koi Pond III

We are not going to talk about viruses at this point, you just inherited a pond you have plenty to worry about. But you should know that there is a virus that can kill all of your fish in under a week if you don’t prevent it with quarantine.

It’s called Koi Herpesvirus and there is a lot of information about it.

Just to plant a bug in your ear with regards to Koi herpes virus, you can break its cycle and save your fish with simple heat. Carefully done, take the fish to 83 to 85°F, and the disease process will stop. Fish that are not “too far gone“ will live. They are considered contagious after surviving Koi Herpes Virus however there are many elements of this that are not supported in work done in Israel on carp.

I can summarize the Koi KHV x Heat equation by telling you:

Koi heating 101
A couple paint bucket warmers carefully suspended above the water line and operated on a thermostat….

One of the first times that that deadly virus, Koi Herpesvirus, was seen in the United States was when infected fish were sold to buyers all over the country at a Koi Show. The fish were distributed to individuals ponds from New York to California and as far south as Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Shortly after those fish were sold and taken home from the event where they were sold, outbreaks of Koi Herpesvirus erupted everywhere the water was under 83°.
Yes, you heard me right.

Owners that bought the fish from that infected show, took their fish home to Arizona New Mexico, Texas, even parts of Florida, and experienced no illlness nor mortalities and I presume their fish are still out there today doing fantastically. Nobody thought to go through and test those fish, I guess they felt lucky, or the virus had somehow ‘overlooked’ the fish that went into the desert.
The collections in more temperate waters died.

What If My Koi Get Sick Without Getting New Fish?

If your fish gets sick, and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with a new fish, you have to look at water quality. You have to understand what the nitrogen cycle is, how your filter is working, and how it is maintained, you need to notice if you have too many fish, that means: “more than 1 inch of fish per 10 gallons of water“

I put together a short course of 20 items to knock down if your fish get sick. Nobody ever gets to the end of it because typically they have figured out what’s wrong by the fifth video.

As a brand new pond inheritor or owner, if you have any questions please reach out!