Sierra Veterinary Clinic

Tips on caring for your pets from the Veterinarians and staff of Sierra Veterinary Clinic in Stockton, California.

How to Keep Your Lawn Green with Dogs

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If you have dogs, you understand the challenges of keeping your lawn lush and green. Lawn burn is a common issue for many dog owners, and occurs when your dog’s urine damages the lawn due to an alkaline pH, concentrated urine, and nitrogen load.

Urine pH and Nitrogen Load Ideally, dogs should have a slightly acidic urine pH of between 6 and 6.5. If your dog’s urine pH is above 7, the higher pH will burn your lawn and could lead to struvite stones, bladder stones caused by alkaline urine. To check your pet’s urine pH at home, you can purchase pH strips and collect a urine sample from your dog in the morning. A dog’s urine pH can be reduced with a low-carb, grain-free diet.

Dogs on a very high protein diet can also produce urine that causes lawn burn. When protein is broken down, nitrogen is excreted. Higher amounts of protein lead to increased nitrogen, and a greater chance of lawn burn. If your lawn is heavily fertilized, it may be receiving near maximum levels of nitrogen already, and the additional amount of nitrogen in your dog’s urine could damage the grass.

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Leptospirosis and Your Pet

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After a warm winter with above average rainfall in San Joaquin County, Leptospirosis is a growing concern for pet owners in our area. Commonly known as Lepto, this potentially deadly disease is caused by infection with the Leptospira bacteria.

The bacteria live in soil and water, and the disease is spread when your pet comes in contact with contaminated water or urine from contaminated animals. The bacteria enters the body through the eyes, nose, mouth, or an open wound. Mice and rats can spread the disease to your pet, and it can also be passed through the placenta from a mother dog to her puppies. While dogs are most commonly affected by Lepto, the disease can affect cats and can pass from animals to people.

Leptospirosis was once confined to rural or hunting dogs, but more and more household pets are contracting the disease. Last month, three pets at the clinic tested positive for Lepto, and new data from animal experts suggests that urban dogs are just as likely to be infected as rural dogs.

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Flea and Tick Protection for Pets

Flea and Tick Protection for Pets

The sun is shining, the days are growing longer, and trees are in full bloom after a long and rainy season for the San Joaquin Valley. This spring will be a welcome relief to many of us who have endured one of the longest, wettest winters in the last 20 years. Your furry household members are also eager to get outside and enjoy the dry weather.

As your dogs and cats spend increased time outside, flea and tick care becomes critical. The lack of freeze this past winter means significantly increased flea and tick activity here in Stockton this spring. Plan to stay one step ahead and start your prevention now, before you start to see fleas and ticks on your pet—once you can see them, they’re already nesting in your home or yard.

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Pet Dental Care: Why It’s Important

Pet Dental Care: Why It’s Important

Dental care is an important aspect of your pet’s overall health, and if left unchecked, dental problems can lead to other serious health issues. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, most dogs and cats are experiencing some form of dental disease by age three. Pet owners don’t always recognize the early signs of oral health issues, and dental disease is the number one undetected illness for both dogs and cats. Without effective preventive measures, the disease process will only advance with age. Routine pet dental care—both at home and in-clinic—can help your pet live a long and healthy life.

Home Care Ideally, dental wellness begins at puppyhood and kittenhood, when it’s easy to get in the habit of routine preventative care. Puppies and kittens are usually very willing to let you rub their teeth with gauze, and later introduce a finger brush or small toothbrush and enzymatic toothpaste.

In addition to regular brushing, our clinic offers a variety of dental care products to help you maintain your pet’s oral health at home. OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews clean teeth and block bacteria to help prevent plaque, calculus (tartar), and bad breath. Dental treats can help reduce plaque and tartar formation while your pet chews, and water additives are products you can add to your pet’s drinking water to freshen your pet’s breath and prevent plaque accumulation. Oral rinses, gels, and sprays all contain active ingredients that help fight plaque and bacteria.

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Beware of Holiday Health Hazards for your Pet

Beware of Holiday Health Hazards for your Pet

The holidays are a great time for baking, decorating, and gift giving, but all the festivities can present some unexpected hazards for your pets, most of which wouldn't be obvious. Plants, treats, decorations, and even the busyness of the season can pose threats to your pet's health which wouldn't be an issue the rest of the year.

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Registered Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 16-22

Registered Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 16-22

There are three words that can distinguish a Registered Veterinary Technician from a veterinarian:

Diagnosing.  Prescribing.  Performing. 

The veterinarian must diagnose the patient, prescribe the medication, and/or perform surgery.  Even in these three scenarios, a vet tech is the veterinarian’s assistant. Otherwise, an RVT must contain much of the same knowledge a vet does. The doctor will diagnose the patient and prescribe medications, and the technician will carry out the doctor’s desired treatment(s). This is an extremely important facet in itself, as the technicians are available to assist the doctor’s and take care of them as well as the patients. 

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As you may know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We likely all know someone affected by this disease, and unfortunately, our companion animals are affected too. Mammary Gland Neoplasia is something we see in our patients here at Sierra Veterinary Clinic, and it is the most common tumor in intact female dogs. Certain breeds at increased risk include Spaniels, Pointers, Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, and Yorkshire Terriers. One of the risk factors is related to the timing of when you spay your pet, so this is also a good reason to spay early. According to the Clinical Veterinary Advisor, intact females and females spayed after two years of age have a sevenfold greater risk of mammary neoplasia compared to those spayed before age 6 months.

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SVC voted Best of San Joaquin

SVC voted Best of San Joaquin

Thanks for once again voting Sierra Veterinary Clinic “Best of San Joaquin” in 2016! We appreciate your ongoing support and the many relationships that we’ve built in the Stockton community. We are honored to have you all as our clients.

As Stockton’s leading full-service veterinary facility, we’ve been committed to providing the best possible routine and advanced care and services for your pets from the start. Thanks for thinking so highly of us, and for choosing our team of experienced doctors, technicians, and support staff as the best in San Joaquin County.

Are you a new client? Check out our new clients page for special offers and discounts.

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Halloween Pet Safety

Halloween Pet Safety

Halloween can be a fun time for you and your pet as long as you follow some simple pet safety tips. Unfortunately holidays are a common time for pet emergencies. On halloween in particular, pets are more likely to eat things they shouldn't and escape out of the house. Here are a few potential problems to be aware of.

Candy: This may seem obvious but you should never let your pet eat any halloween candy. Any candy containing chocolate, especially dark and bittersweet, xylitol, a sweetener, or raisins is very bad for them and can be fatal. Make sure you and your kids put all the candy in a place unreachable by your pet. Don't let them get into the wrappers either. It's likely the wrapper still has the smell and taste of candy on it and if ingested can create a blockage.

Costumes: It's fine to dress your pet in a halloween costume, you just need to make sure it's safe and comfortable for them. It needs to fit well and not be too tight or loose or impair them in any way. Supervise them while they are in costume.

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Keeping Your Senior Pet Healthy

Keeping Your Senior Pet Healthy

Did you know that senior pets have special needs and may be faced with a new set of age-related conditions? Thanks to improved veterinary care and dietary habits, pets are now living longer than ever before. The downside to aging is the possibility of health problems and behavioral changes for your pet.

First, it’s important to understand when a pet is considered a senior. Cats and small dogs are usually considered a senior at 7 years of age. Larger breed dogs typically have shorter life spans, and are considered a senior at 6 years of age.

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When Fido’s Fangs Flare: Dog Bite Prevention Week May 15 - 21

When Fido’s Fangs Flare:
Dog Bite Prevention Week May 15 - 21

From nips to bites to actual attacks, dog bites are a serious problem. Even the sweetest, cutest dog can bite if provoked. Approximately 800,000 dog bite victims require medical attention in the US every year. Children are the most frequent victims of dog bites, making up half of all victims, followed by the elderly and postal carriers. Even dogs can be victims of dog bites. Fortunately, most dog bites are preventable by following some common sense tips, teaching children how to behave around dogs and training your own pet.

Tips for Everyone

Keep these tips in mind If you encounter an unfamiliar dog.

If a dog approaches to sniff you, stay still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.If you are threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don’t scream or yell. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don’t turn and run.If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.Keeping the Kids Safe

Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs. Parents and caregivers should:

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Parvovirus is a real threat for your pet

Parvovirus is a real threat for your pet

With the warmer weather, all of us are spending more time outside enjoying the sunshine, and that includes our pets. Unfortunately this always means we see a spike in Parvovirus infections, and this year is no different.

Parvo is a highly contagious virus that is spread through oral contact with infected feces. As disgusting as that sounds, it could be as simple as your pet walking through an area that contains infected feces, and then licking his feet afterward. Even walking through an infected area yourself can contaminate your clothing and shoes, and is often enough to infect a pet when you return home. Many scientists suspect that flies can also pick up the virus and spread it to your pet by landing on his face.

Parvo most commonly affects puppies age 3-10 months, but is also a threat to older dogs who are immunocompromised, have had an incomplete set of vaccinations, or have had no vaccinations. We also see occasional breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated animals, but this is extremely rare. Puppies are at the highest risk because their immune systems haven't had a chance to fully develop, and their vaccines haven't been completed.

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Have a Heart for Heartworm Awareness

Have a Heart for Heartworm Awareness

You’ve probably heard of “heartworm” disease, but what do you really know about it? Heartworm is a dangerous disease and should be a genuine concern for you if you’re a dog owner. Luckily, prevention is easy and affordable.

What is Heartworm Disease?

Once considered a parasite mainly of southern climates, heartworm disease is now considered a real risk for pets in all 50 states. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 1 million dogs in the U.S. suffer with heart- worm disease today.

Heartworm is a life-threatening parasite transmitted by mosquitoes and is caused by worms that manifest themselves in your dog’s heart, lungs, and arteries. These parasites will mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring. If left untreated, their numbers can increase to several hundred worms and may grow to be 14-inch-long adults.

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The Importance of a Comprehensive Panel

The Importance of a Comprehensive Panel

Cooper's Story

My dog Cooper is 4 years old. In October I noticed a few things that were not normal for him. He was shedding a lot more hair and was waking me up more at night to go outside to use the facilities. When I brought him in, I spoke to Dr. Patterson and Dr. Yao about the issues he was having they suggested that we send out a comprehensive panel with urine just to make sure everything looked the way it is supposed to. The next day Dr. Yao sat me down and told me that Cooper was in stage 1 Kidney Disease. I was upset because there’s not much you can do but to slow down the progression of the Disease by changing his diet. I knew that this was going to be a challenge. Explaining it to my daughter was hard. She was no longer allowed to sneak Cooper snacks. I explained to her that there were still foods he could have like bananas, apples, green beans and carrots. We now make Cooper banana ice cream once and a while.

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Wellness Exams: The Easiest Way to Keep on Top of Your Pet’s Health

Wellness Exams: The Easiest Way to Keep on Top of Your Pet’s Health

Just like we do, our furry friends need regular wellness exams to stay their healthiest.  What may seem like a simple checkup really is the foundation for preventing more serious health problems and potentially not only saving money, but your pet’s life.  Here are some guidelines and tips for getting the most out of your pet’s wellness visits. 

The frequency of wellness exams coincides with the different points in an animal’s life.  Puppies and kittens, for example, should see a veterinarian every three weeks for exams and booster vaccinations until they are16 weeks old.  Adults typically need an annual wellness exam.  Seniors usually need to be seen twice a year because their health can change more quickly than younger pets. 

A wellness visit typically includes a head-to-toe physical exam.  It also may include a check for growths and masses on the skin; checking the underbelly and groin for tenderness or swelling; an examination of the eyes, ears and nose for obstructions; and an oral exam to look for signs of gum disease, growths or tooth issues.  Routine blood work and fecal exams also will be conducted to provide a baseline for evaluating changes or trends in your pet’s health that the physical may not reveal.  Other diagnostics may include testing for heartworm disease and internal parasites.  To ensure a happy, healthy pet, nutrition and behavior also will be discussed. 

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Feline resorptive lesions… Ouch!

Feline resorptive lesions… Ouch!

This Is Moe.

He is one of our awesome veterinary technician’s fur-baby. (Please don’t worry about his eye. It developed that way and it is not painful).

Here are two x-rays of his fourth premolar on the left side from a dental cleaning we did for him a couple of months ago.

Notice the large, dark hole in the fourth premolar. That is a feline resorptive lesion. Amy is not feeding Mo too many sweets because they are not caused by sugar in the diet and although they are commonly seen with plaque and gingivitis, we don’t know how they are related. The most important thing to know about them is that they are painful.

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Donate items to support Animal Friends Connection

Donate items to support Animal Friends Connection

Once again this year Sierra Veterinary Clinic is collecting donations to support the work of the volunteers at Animal Friends Connection. They are constantly in need of basic items to provide for the needs of the animals in their care. If you donate any of the items on this list during the month of December at Sierra Veterinary Clinic, we'll reward you with a $5 Sierra Bucks card!

Donations are accepted in our lobby anytime during normal business hours. Thank you for your support!

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Polydactyl (Many Toes)

Polydactyl (Many Toes)

Medical term originating in Greek “Poly” pertains to many and “Dactyl” pertaining to the toes/fingers.

Polydactyl cats have more than normal amount of toes usually on the front feet but they can also be on the back feet. Normal cats have 18 toes polydactyls usually have up to 28 toes.

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Meet the Staff: Colette Wasieleweski

Meet the Staff: Colette Wasieleweski
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Colette Wasieleweski has lived in Tracy, CA her whole life. After graduating from Navy bootcamp in 2006, she was stationed in San Diego where she worked onboard the USS Nimitz as as Aviation Electronics Technician. She served as an active duty military member for 5 years. After her enlistment contract ended, she moved back home to Tracy with her parents.

After leaving the military, Colette decided to go back to school and study what she really enjoys. She has always loved being around animals so she enrolled in Carrington College California’s Veterinary Technology program in 2011. She graduated with honors with an Associate Degree in Science for Veterinary Technician (RVT). She obtained an interview with Sierra through one of her instructors and was hired on as a Technician Assistant. After passing the state board exam, she is now a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT).

Colette has been with us at Sierra for almost 2 years now and works mostly in the Treatment Area with the pets that need care after their appointments with the doctors. She enjoys learning something new every day and spending time with the pets while their treatments are being completed. In addition to her technician’s duties, Colette helps us out with taking pictures for our social media accounts and website.

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Amy's Cold Laser Therapy Story

Amy's Cold Laser Therapy Story

One of our RVTs, Amy, was recently presented with a unique opportunity to use our Veterinary Cold Therapy Laser on an injured horse. Amy has enjoyed this experience so much that she wrote up her story for us to share with you:

This sweet girl is one of our latest laser therapy patients.  She is a show and driving horse owned by Richard and Melanie Brandstad. One day in early January Dr. Luckars asked me if I would ever consider doing laser on a horse, with no question I automatically said yes, not thinking anything of it I went on about my day. In the following days I was in contact with Richard and we set up a day to meet at the Sargent Equestrian Center were Hannah stays. So in between work or on weekends I would make my way out to see Hannah for her laser therapy.

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