Canine Influenza

-By Tara Sansing

As many of us have probably already seen via news reports, there have been recent outbreaks of the Canine Influenza Virus in some states. These reports have been leaving many pet owners with more questions rather than answers….

What is the Canine Influenza Virus? & What do these recent outbreaks mean for me and my dog(s)?

Canine Influenza (CIV) was first discovered in 2004 when a pack of greyhounds at a racetrack in Florida became very ill and several dogs died.  What scientists discovered was that these dogs had been racing at horse tracks and that a strain of influenza that had been found in horses for decades had mutated and was now infecting the dogs.

CIV is an upper respiratory virus. The most common symptoms are coughing, fever, nasal discharge, lethargy and lack of appetite. The significance of a CIV infection is that it compromises the normal defense mechanisms of the canine respiratory tract so that secondary bacterial infections, including pneumonia, are common. The mortality rate for the virus and resulting infections is 8%.

How does it spread?  

  • Through direct contact between dogs (licking & nuzzling)
  • Through the air (coughing, sneezing)
  • Via contaminated surfaces (such as a shared toy or when a person picks up the virus on their hands, then pets a dog)

    The Canine Influenza Virus can be spread from dog to dog or via contaminate surfaces.

    The Canine Influenza Virus can be spread from dog to dog or via contaminate surfaces.

Any dogs that walk in the neighborhood, visit with neighbor dogs through the fence, get bathed/groomed, board, go to training classes or play at the dog park are at high risk.  It is important to understand, however, that a dog does not have to come in direct contact with a dog that has the virus. CIV can live in the environment for several days and so any dogs that are in the same area later are also at risk.  CIV can also be brought home by any person that has come into contact with the virus.

Dogs are contagious for 5-7 days prior to showing the first symptoms and it is for this reason that CIV has spread very quickly.  Since those initial reports in 2004, there have been positive cases in 39 states. Because the virus is relatively new, dogs have no natural immunity against the virus—if unvaccinated and exposed, the chances of being infected is close to 100%

As a precaution against outbreak, we are recommending that all dogs be vaccinated for the canine influenza virus. In addition, the vaccine will be required for all boarders, day boarders and baths. Please note that much like the flu vaccine in humans, the vaccine does not guarantee that your dog will not contract the virus but the symptoms will be much less severe and the dog should recover more quickly.  Any dog that has not received the vaccine in the past will need an initial vaccine followed by a booster in 2-4 weeks. The vaccine should continue to be given annually.

If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment to bring your dog(s) in for the vaccine,  please contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

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Therapeutic Laser Therapy

-By Erin Fitzpatrick-Wacker

Microlight ML830

Microlight ML830

Many clinics have started a non-evasive therapy with cold lasers for a variety of medical conditions. At TLC Animal Hospital, we use the Microlight ML830®. This is a handheld, battery-operated device that emits a beam of light that travels in a straight line for a 33 second interval. The device is so low energy that it is known as a cold laser. It it non-harmful and uses photo-stimulation of the light reactive receptors of the body called chromophores, because the laser light is able to penetrate deeper than regular light. When stimulated, these chromophores accelerate the body’s defenses to repair and heal naturally. It has been proven through 30 years of FDA studies to increase collagen production, enhance nerve regeneration, increase vasodilation, reduce inflammation, increase cell metabolism, increase pain threshold, reduce edema, increase tissue and bone repair, increase lymphatic response, and increase cell membrane potential. Conditions approved for treatment include: acute shoulder lameness, bursitis, chronic renal failure, cruciate strain, cystitis, lipoma, alopecia, hot spots, lick granuloma, ligament repair, lumbar pain, otitis externa, operative incision treatment, pain management, post ear crop surgery, post cruciate repair, post declaw, pyoderma, sinusitis, tendonitis, ulcerations, and wounds. It is reported that 75-80% of pets being treated are able to notice an immediate improvement of their condition.

Laser therapy has been proven to reduce inflammation associated with acute and chronic conditions.

Laser therapy has been proven to reduce inflammation associated with acute and chronic conditions.

At TLC Animal Hospital, we often use therapeutic laser therapy for control of severe osteoarthritis, to help ease their pain through reduction of inflammation and increase their pain threshold. We also use it for recovering surgery patients to reduce swelling, inflammation, and promote faster healing by increasing the blood flow at the incision sites. Therapy is very passive, does not require any pulses or shocks, and does not emit any heat, just a beam of light, so the patient feels no discomfort. In general, the longer the condition has persisted, the more sessions are required for a noted response to be seen. Sessions for osteoarthritis are offered at our clinic daily, usually last about 30 minutes to an hour, and are administered by a certified technician. Each session is tailored to the particular need of the animal receiving the therapy.

Feel free to speak with the receptionists today to schedule your appointment.

For more information, visit: http://myml830.com

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Holiday Hazards

The holidays are a joyous occasion, and often people include pets in festivities. Unfortunately, the holidays can often create hazardous situations for pets and the number pet poison cases increases this time of year. To keep your pet safe, Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) Toxicology Section Head Tam Garland, DVM, PhD, suggests keeping an eye on the following:Santa Dog

 Lethal food combinations: Maintaining a pet on their normal food is always a good idea. Some foods, such as chocolate, may be poisonous to the pet. Feeding scraps may encourage inappropriate behavior such as begging. Changes in diet, such as table scraps can cause diarrhea or vomiting and thus make a holiday celebration less pleasant for all concerned.

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to pets; vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems and death can occur if ingested. If your pet should get into chocolates, please call your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency hospital as soon as possible. Be prepared to tell them what your pet weighs, and how much of what type of chocolate the pet ingested.

Baking chocolates and dark chocolates are more dangerous than white chocolate. Some pets can ingest a small amount of chocolate and be fine, other pets may develop vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, hyperactivity, bloat and possibly death. Chocolates of any kind should not be given to pets. This includes things like chocolate chip cookies, chocolate covered peppermint patties, and other holiday foods and treats.

Caffeine is found in many soft drinks and special holiday drinks, such as sweetened chocolate or coffee. These should not be given to pets.

Fruit Cakes may contain rum or other alcohol. Alcohol poisoning is very dangerous to pets, causing a drop in body temperature, blood sugar and blood pressure. Rising bread dough can cause obstruction if ingested. The yeast can also result in alcohol poisoning in pets. Please keep bread dough, fruit cakes, rum raisin cookies and holiday treats of this sort well out of reach of pets. Reminding guests to refrain from sharing human food with your pets is always acceptable.

Food products used in ornaments: Homemade ornaments, especially those made of play dough-type material or other salt-based products or food, can be extremely toxic to pets. The salt or play dough ornaments appeal to pets as a tasty treat because of the salt. However, an ingestion of a salt-based ornament can cause an animal’s death. Animals ingesting these types of ornaments need to be treated by a veterinarian for salt poisoning.

Pets do not often take a bite out of glass ornaments but it has been known to occur. Pets can step on and break glass ornaments as well. Cuts to the mouth or pads of the foot may be painful and need a veterinarian’s attention to remove the glass and close the wound depending upon the severity of the cut.

Holiday Hazards: Candles should not be placed where a pet could knock them over. Remember, cats often jump up and knock items off of a shelf or mantle, especially if it is in a location they are accustomed to occupying. A dancing flame can be interesting to felines who have been known to swipe at the flame. Burns may occur but fires may be a bigger danger in the home.

Plants: Poinsettia plants and Christmas cactus are often considered the must-havekitten Christmas plants of the season and can cause adverse reactions in pets. Animals that ingest these plants may experience gastric distress, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Generally this is self-limiting. The pet will often overcome this irritation within 24-48 hours. Provide small amounts of water but offer no food until the vomiting has stopped; this may help settle the stomach. It is always wise to consult your veterinarian anytime your pet has an upset stomach.

Tinsel decorating a Christmas tree or wreath is shiny, lightweight and moves very easily, enticing playful cats. Ingested tinsel can lodge or anchor in the stomach, inhibiting passage through the intestines. It can also wrap around the base of the tongue and cause serious injury and impede the ability to eat or drink. Tinsel can actually cut tissue as the intestines contract. Yarn can behave in a similar fashion. Both tinsel and yarn represent special hazards to felines.

Holiday Perfumes: Holidays are often filled with guests and the desire to perfume the home. Liquid potpourris may be the choice for the perfume but can contain essential oils and cationic detergents which if consumed can cause chemical burns to the mouth, difficulty breathing, tremors and fever. Dogs may be affected but are not quite as sensitive to these chemicals as cats. Potpourris, whether liquid or dry, should be kept well out of the reach of pets.

Watch for any signs of distress or changes in your pet’s behavior during this holiday season. An owner’s awareness of possibly harmful decorations and foods is the most effective way to reduce pet toxicity over the holiday. Following these simple guidelines will help make the holidays fun and safe for you and your pet(s)!

 

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Toxic Plants & Fungi

-By Erin Fitzpatrick-Wacker

There are many toxic plants that can be found in your yard and around your house. Many factors can affect how much of the toxin is ingested, including: part of the plant, condition of the plant, stage of growth the plant is in, time of year, species of plant, age/size/species/condition of the animal ingesting the plant, and amount of plant ingested. These are just some of the most common and deadly plants we see affecting our patients.

Amanita / Agaric Mushrooms

Amanita / Agaric Mushrooms

Often found in Fall, mushrooms have over 100 toxic species, but the most toxic are the pretty red ones, known as Agaric mushrooms and Amanita mushrooms. Toxic ingestion symptoms include: diarrhea, vomiting, and a faster heart beat. If an animal eats these, it should be considered an emergency and your veterinarian should be contacted immediately to induce vomiting. Permanent liver and kidney damage can occur.

Cannabis Plant

Cannabis Plant

Symptoms of Cannabis/Marijuana ingestion can be: lethargy, droopy eyes, disorientation,  acute incontinence, seizures, and hyper-excitement. Recovery after treatment is usually within 24 hours; however the more potent the strain, the more potent the symptoms.

Daffodil

Daffodil

Daffodils, seen commonly in flower beds, have toxic bulbs if eaten, and can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) Plant

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) Plant

Dieffenbachia/Dumb Cane is a common household plant. They can cause a severe oral irritation, causing salivation and swelling of the tongue. Pets that consume this plant often need pain medication and steroids to help them through their recovery. Philodendron/Elephant Ears, also a common household plant,  exhibit the same symptoms.

Grapes

Grapes

Grapes/Raisins are one of the few toxins that are not dose specific.  They have an unknown nephrotoxin that can cause anorexia, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and acute renal failure. Symptoms can last several days and often need hospitalization with induced vomiting and IV fluid therapy for a full recovery.

Japanese Yew

Japanese Yew

Japenese Yew is a beautiful shrub found in many yards. It is extremely toxic dry or fresh. If ingested, this is considered an emergency and veterinary medical attention should be sought immediately. This is a cardiac depressant, so many pets will go into cardiac arrest after ingesting it. If the pet is able to be stabilized, then medications to induce vomiting and then coat and soothe the stomach are usually given, as well as hospitalization with IV fluids.

Lantana

Lantana

Lantana is a flowering bush that is common in yards. It comes in many colors; however the purple is less toxic than the red or yellow. If consumed, it causes gastrointestinal upset for about 3-4 days, usually manifesting symptoms of bloody diarrhea. Veterinary care usually includes medication to soothe the gut and antibiotics.

Lily

Lily

A familiar scene around the house at Easter is the Lily. It is a nephrotoxin and especially toxic to cats, especially the flowers and leaves. A cat only needs to ingest 1-2 leaves for toxicity to occur. Early signs of ingestion include salivation. Late signs include renal failure. Hospitalization with your veterinarian is recommended for induced vomiting and IV fluids if immediately after consumption. If caught late, then long-term renal management is sometimes an option.

Oak Tree

Oak Tree

Oak Trees, including the leaves and acorns, are toxic and habit forming. The pet will need to eat 40% of their diet to exhibit symptoms usually. Symptoms usually present with constipation and then progress into diarrhea, and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Renal disease can also occur. Maintaining hydration is very important, so supportive veterinary care is encouraged.

Oleander

Oleander

Oleander is a beautiful flowering bush that is not only toxic to humans, but also toxic to pets, especially dogs.  Dogs only need to ingest 1-3 leaves for toxicity to occur. It is cardiotoxic, but can also cause gastrointestinal signs including vomiting and diarrhea. If the pet is able to be stabilized, then medications to induce vomiting and then coat and soothe the stomach are usually given, as well as hospitalization with IV fluids.

Sago Palm

Sago Palm

One of the most common toxins we see at TLC is Sago Palm (Cycas species) toxicity. It is a smaller palm plant that sits lower to the ground and is often used in landscaping. All parts of the plant are toxic. Although, the leaves and seeds are the worst. Symptoms usually present within 12 hours of ingestion. It is a hepatotoxin. Vomiting and diarrhea are often present. Other signs include: neurological degeneration, weakness, and progressive rear limb paralysis. Immediate veterinary care is recommended for induced vomiting and IV fluid;  long term care is expected.

If you believe your pet has been exposed to a toxic plant, please contact your veterinarian. The earlier we can act, the greater the chances of a full recovery.

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When A Tiny Flea Becomes A BIG Problem

Combating fleas can be a difficult process for the best of us. Using these helpful tips will allow your home and pets to be flea free!

Don’t let fleas get in between you and your pet(s)! Using these helpful tips will allow your home and pets to be flea free!

By Jamie Greak

Have you ever come home and the only thing that has been on your mind all day is sitting on the couch cuddled up to your furry friend? Imagine that time is now and this is what you are doing- you plop down next to your loving pet, you take your hand to start petting him or her and look down… Aagh! All you see is tiny little fleas scurrying around!  What do you do?? You just applied the medicine a couple of days ago! Don’t worry; this happens to the best of us. Even though you are seeing fleas, don’t just assume that the flea preventative that you purchased from the clinic is not working; in order to ensure that these preventatives work properly, we need to make sure that they are being administered or applied correctly.

There are many topical preventatives available on the market for fleas. Vectra 3D for dogs is available for purchase at our clinic. It is waterproof, photo stable (meaning it does not break down in light), and will kill and repel fleas, ticks, flies, mosquitoes, lice and other mites and is easy to apply. Simply part the hair at the base of the tail and using the applicator tip, squeeze the tube gently while working up the back towards the neck, or from “From rear to ear” as we like to say. Once applied, the Vectra will begin to absorb into the sebaceous sweat glands of their body and translocate.  When this is happing your pet may feel a tingling sensation and will want to roll around on the grass, ground, couch, etc. If allowed to roll around or rub on the furniture, your pet will end up applying most of the preventative onto something else and thus it will not be as effective. After applying the Vectra 3D, be sure to keep your dog distracted for a good 15 minutes after application, so that the liquid can absorb. This can be done by taking your dog for a walk, throw the ball for them or give them a rawhide to chew. Other topical preventatives have different ways to applying them to your pet. Always read the instructions before applying.

Another important thing to remember with all topical preventatives is to not apply them when your pet is wet. They should be applied either 48 hours before or 24 hours after a bath. Also make sure that you are bathing your pet with a pet shampoo that is soap or detergent free. Human shampoos are designed to cut oil and grease and will wash the product off of your pet. Be sure to remove all collars until the product is dry.

Don’t forget about your cats! Just because they never go outside does not mean that they should not be protected too. Flea eggs and larvae can be brought into the house on your other pets, shoes and even the hem of your pants. Revolution for cats prevents heartworms, intestinal parasites, ear mites and fleas. It should be applied to the skin on the back of the neck, just high enough where your cat is not able to lick the medication. Cats can sometimes be difficult to keep distracted after applying the topical medicine. The best way that I found to do this is when it is time for them to eat or initiate them in play after application with a ribbon toy, laser pointer, etc.

If you are using an oral form of flea prevention such as Trifexis, Comfortis or Nexgard, make sure that your pet has eaten a full meal prior to giving the medication. This will ensure that the medicine is absorbed properly and will reach its maximum effectiveness. If you are using one of these medications and you are still seeing fleas on your pet, please remember that these types of preventatives only work once the flea has a blood meal, meaning the adult flea has to bite your pet in order for it to die.

Did you know that the fleas that you are seeing on your pet are only 5 to 10 percent of the whole population of fleas that live in your environment?!  Just because you are seeing fleas does not mean that the product is not working. There are likely thousands of fleas in your home and in your yard and the fleas that you are continuing to see on your pet are most likely new fleas. When the female flea has her first blood meal she will lay up to 50 eggs. In the female flea’s life time she can lay up to 5000 eggs. How do we fix this problem?  The truth is, there is no silver bullet for fleas! The flea life cycle is 90 days and as fleas continue to hatch out into the environment, you may continue to see them. In order for the products to kill the fleas, they must first come into contact with your pet. For optimal flea control it is ideal if you treat your environment as well. There are a variety of products on the market that are available to you and will help to eliminate the fleas in your home and yard.

When treating the inside of your home, be sure to think about where your pets spend most of their time. Where ever your pet spends most of his/her time will be a hot spot for flea activity. If yours is anything like mine, you will need to pay extra attention to the couch and even the bed. Because the flea eggs, larva and pupae are very sticky and hang out on any material and fabric until they can find a host to live on and dine, be sure to strip the bed of all covers, and sheets along with the comforters and bed skirt, also remove all pillow cases. You will need to wash all these items in very hot water. While you are washing your bedding, you will need to treat the bed. We carry a product at the clinic called Siphotrol Plus Spray. This spray can be used to spray down all sides of the mattress, box spring, under and behind the bed. In addition to spraying your bed make sure to treat all the other beds in your house and all furniture. Remove all cushions on the couch and spray beneath them and between the seams.  Don’t forget to spay underneath all the furniture as well.  Now let’s think about the carpet, you can use the Siphotrol Plus spray for all the carpet but it will be ideal if you were to take a powder treatment and sprinkle it onto the carpet. Flea Busters is a good product for this and can be sprinkled everywhere in the house including hard wood and vinyl floors.  It is safe, odorless and easy to apply. Follow the step by step directions found on the label when applying to carpet. When treating your hard wood flooring, sweep the powder around the floor so it can be worked in between the cracks in the flooring. Let it sit on the hard flooring for about an hour then you can take a mop and just PLAIN water and mop up extra powder.  When you vacuum make sure to throw away the bag or take the trash out immediately.  Another important thing to do is remove the filter of the vacuum and wash it. When you are having trouble with fleas in your home, Flea busters recommends increasing the frequency of vacuuming. The vibration from the vacuum will draw the fleas out of the pupae stage.

When treating your yard, it is best if you go to your neighborhood Lowes or Home Depot and get a product called, Bayer Advance. It comes in many forms including granules, sprays, and even hooks up to your water hose. If you have a large yard, you may want to call your local exterminator for recommendations. When you are treating your yard make sure that you treat everywhere your pet goes. If your furry friend has access under the house you will want to treat under there as well. While doing the outside also get the dog house, the garage, and the children’s play house. And don’t forget about the area under the big oak tree where he or she likes to rest under on sunny days. Also, don’t forget to treat your car if your pet rides with you to places. The Siphotrol Spray can be used to treat the inside of the car.

 True or False?

I only have to apply flea preventatives to my pets that go outside.

FALSE! Most people only think that flea prevention is for pets that are only outside—but remember it just takes 1 flea to cause a huge outbreak in your home. Flea eggs and larvae can be brought into the home on your shoes and clothing and any pets in the home that are not protected run the risk of getting fleas.

Fleas die back in the winter so I only have to treat my pets in the summer.

FALSE! Adult fleas can live outside in temperatures as low as 49 degrees. If the fleas are sheltered in your home, garage, etc. they will survive in even colder weather. The pupae stage of the flea life cycle will not die in any type of weather condition, and can live up to a year until weather conditions are ideal for them.  All flea preventions should be administered every 30 days in order to prevent infestations.

Using all these steps it will help you combat fleas all year long. If you have any questions or would like help deciding which preventatives are best for your pet(s), feel free to call or stop by the clinic and we would be happy to assist you!

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Changes In Underweight And Overweight Cats

By- Erin Fitzpatrick-Wacker

Is your cat experiencing changes in its normal habits? Since our cats can’t tell us what is bothering them, we monitor their everyday behavior for changes to alert us that something may have changed.

In the case of diabetes, some early symptoms you might see are attacking you for food, inappropriate elimination, problems jumping on things, and worn off fur on the bottom of paws. Some late symptoms you might see are increased water consumption and increased urination.

In the case of hyperthyroidism, you might see increased appetite, changes in their coat, and weight loss.

If we are checking their lab work regularly, we are able to monitor many of these changes, and in the case of early diabetes, can even reverse the changes if caught early enough. We recommend screening lab work for every overweight and underweight cat, especially if they are over 10 years old, and every cat over the age of 7, especially if they are being anesthetized. 50% of diabetic and hyperthyroid cats have an underlying gastrointestinal issue (GI) and need additional screening lab, such as a GI panel with their regular lab work. Diabetic patients are also prone to urinary tract infections and require additional testing for their urine.

Properly diagnosed cats with gastrointestinal problems live 2 years longer, since skinny old cats have a reduced ability to digest fats and proteins, which is why we prescribe the special diet we put them on.

We also often like to check the quality of their stool to check and document consistency. Many cats with gastrointestinal problems have normal looking stool from the outside, but the inside will be waxy or liquid-like.

Monitor your cat closely for changes because of the special needs of senior pets and do yearly screening lab work to help evalutate their internal organs and identify underlying medical conditions. The sooner we identify their condition, the faster we can treat it. Bring these noticeable changes to the attention of your veterinarian for proper testing and diagnosis.

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Making Your Cat’s Visit to the Vet More Feline Friendly

By Ashley Elliott

We all love our cats but taking them to the vet can be stressful for both cats and their owners! Trying to catch our feline friends and then get them into a carrier isn’t always a walk in the park. Here are some tips on how to get your cat to have a more enjoyable experience from the carrier to the clinic.

Getting your cat used to being around their carrier is the first step to reducing stress for both you and your cat when bringing them to the clinic. If the only time your cat sees the carrier is when you’re trying to catch them to take them to the vet, they’re not going to be too happy to see it. But if you keep the carrier out all the times, your cat will get used to it. If you don’t want to leave it out all the time, try getting the carrier out for about a week before your appointment.

Teaching your cat to love their carrier is the second step to make a trip the vet less stressful. This can be achieved by training your cat to associate good things with their carrier. Food is an excellent motivator. Just let your cat associate meals and yummy treats with their carrier. Start by feeding your cat right outside of the carrier. Over the next few days, slowly move the food further into the carrier. You’ll know that your cat is comfortable when they’re eating their food in the carrier without hesitation.

There are calming pheromone sprays, like Feliway, that can help as well. You can spray a towel, blanket, or even the carrier itself. Do this about twenty minutes before you plan on leaving the house.

Since you’re going to the vet, chances are your cat is going to get some vaccines. Towels may be used during the exam to help comfortably restrain your cat. You can train your cat to get used to this at home. You can also train your cat to get used to having their skin handled similar to how you trained them to like their carrier. Associate treats or food with light handling of their skin.

Now that your cat isn’t running away at the sight of carrier, it’s time to go to the vet! If you’re not able to go into an exam room right away, try to keep your cat away from scary situations in the waiting room. There are all sorts of strange smells and sounds in waiting room that could make your cat anxious. Try to keep other animals away from the carrier. Other animals may want to investigate the carrier, but this could upset your cat. You could cover the carrier with a towel to help prevent this.

Once you’re in the room, let your cat get used to their new surroundings. Open the carrier door and let them investigate. Don’t dump your cat out of the carrier or try to pull them out of it. This will just upset your cat and set a bad tone for the rest of your cat’s visit. Most carriers can be disassembled or opened in different ways. You can also use treats or catnip to make your cat feel more comfortable in the room.

Training your cat to love their carrier and helping them get used to being handled will help you and your cat have a more enjoyable, stress free visit to the clinic.

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