Sierra Veterinary Clinic: Pet Blog

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

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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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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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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Amy and Bella's Dasuquin Story

Amy and Bella's Dasuquin Story

My dog Bella is 10 years old. Early in November she started limping on her front right leg. Of course, as a Vet Tech I started thinking the worst: cancer! Fortunately, after a few hours of monitoring her I realized it was probably just arthritis. She had recently had her senior checkup and lab work and all the results were normal.

I wanted to start her on something besides NSAIDs or pain medications, so I started giving her Dasuquin, a joint supplement for dogs and cats that contains glucosamine and chondroitin to promote healthy joints. After just a few days - I’m not joking - she was no longer limping when she got out of bed and was a lot more active. Her coat even had a new shine to it. I was amazed! I had always heard great things from clients about Dasuquin, but until I used it myself I did not understand how great it really is. Not only does it contain glucosamine and chondroitin, but it also has Avocado and Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASUs) which, in conjunction with glucosamine/chondroitin, have been shown to improve joint function and comfort levels.

You can help keep your senior pet moving easily and pain free with supplements like Dasuquin and Welactin, a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which helps with aging joints and brain function as well as things like coat, skin and heart health.

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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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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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Is your dog's dry nose a sign of illness?

Is your dog's dry nose a sign of illness?

Questions that come up regarding our pets is why is my dog's nose cold, hot, wet or dry? Is he or she sick?

Possible reasons for a wet nose may be due to humidity. Their noses can act as a barometer and adjusts according to how much fluid is in the environment. Another reason may be that they are sweating. Ways that dogs sweat is through their paws and their noses. When their noses are dry it can also be due to the dryness in the air. Again, like a barometer. If your pet is not feeling well a dry nose may be due to a fever or dehydration.

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Simple and Inexpensive Pet Tips

There are several simple and inexpensive things that pet owners can do to extend a dog or cat's life.

Brush you pet's teeth routinely. A toothbrush and a pet friendly tooth paste costs less than $15. It is best to start this practice when your dog or cat is young. It is a wonderful way to help prevent the build up of plaque on your companion's teeth and reduce periodontal disease. Dental disease is the number one undetected illness for both dogs and cats. Infection in the mouth is not only painful but can also lead to illness elsewhere in the body. This routine effort is great for you buddy's comfort and longevity. It will also save you money by resulting in less involved and potentially less frequent dental cleanings.

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Keep your pet safe and calm through Independence Day fireworks

As we celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we're sure to have plenty of fireworks in the area, both the "Safe and Sane" variety as well as the louder and more dangerous illegal types. For pets who are unaccustomed to loud noises, the constant barrage of noise and flashing lights can create a frightening and stressful situation. Fortunately there are some things you can do to help your pet cope.

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Modern treatments in ear care are helping to speed healing and reduce the need for ear canal surgery

Ear infections are very common in dogs. Typical symptoms include but are not limited to head shaking, scratching, swelling or closure of the ear canal, discharge, odor, inflammation at the ear flap, and formation of a hematoma or fluid filling in between the two layers of the ear flap.

Many different things can trigger ear infections. Allergies are a common predisposing issue. The lining of the ear canal is just an extension of the skin. So anything that causes skin inflammation can result in an ear infection. Certain activities such as swimming can predispose a patient to ear maladies.

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Simple things to keep your pet healthy and happy in the New Year and for years to come

Keep current identification information on your pet. It can save his or her life. We routinely have lost dogs or cats brought into the clinic. Most of them do not have collars with current contact information or microchips. Visible identification is the easiest way for someone to return your pet if found. Microchips are magnificent because unlike collars, they don’t fall off. Please remember to update the information with the microchip company when you move.

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Keeping your pet at a healthy weight will help to extend his or her life

A healthy body condition is just as important for our companions as it is for us. Obesity in animals can lead to a multitude of health problems including heart disease, joint and bone maladies, diabetes, constipation, and others. January is healthy weight month at Sierra Veterinary Clinic. We have chosen this issue to help your pet start off right in 2014.

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Canine Wellness Depends on Routine Health Care

Routine preventative health care is important at every stage of life for the overall wellness of your dog. Sierra Veterinary Clinic can play a pivotal role guiding you in the healthcare decisions you make for your canine. A good wellness program will help to extend both the quality and duration of your companion's life, giving you many great years together.

Puppies need a high level of monitoring and care as they have a very minimally developed immune system, and continuously explore their world with their mouths.

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What to do after a dog fight, and some prevention tips

This past week I treated 6 patients for dog fights, and this doesn't include those that my associates worked with. I don't know if the warmer weather is creating tension amongst the canines; but this is a very high number of incidences. This column covers what to do when a dog attack happens to your companion to increase the chance of a full recovery; and provides guidelines to help protect your cherished companions from such confrontations.

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Unwanted Pet Behaviors

Our dogs and cats do things as puppies and kittens that we think are cute at the time; but that we may not necessarily want them to do as adult members of the household. Unfortunately, each excited or even remotely positive reaction that we give just feeds into a pet’s natural drive to seek attention and/or please his/her caregiver. Some of these actions have minimal long term effects; but some can create serious problems over time. For some households, the same behavior may be perceived in a wide range from benign to extremely serious. I am going to cover a few of the common behaviors that we may be encouraging.

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Protect your dog from Rattlesnakes

As the temperature rises, the climate is perfect for Rattlesnakes to come out; and they are active from March through September. This year it is expected that many more snakes will be out and about due to our unusually weather patterns this year and last year. For people that take their canines camping, hiking, and/or hunting in the areas surrounding Stockton, both they and their buddies are at a significant risk for a snake encounter.

Rattlesnake bites commonly occur on in animals on the legs or face. The level of toxicity depends on the age and type of the snake, as well as the size of the dog. In 20-25% of bites, no venom is injected. 30% of bites are mild and only cause local inflammation and pain with no systemic effects. 40% of bites are severe and cause systemic problems. And 5% are fatal.

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Draft horses can do a lot more than pull carts

Draft horses can do a lot more than pull carts or heavy equipment. With practice, they can be just as agile as other horses for trail riding, dressage, and other equine activities. A local Draft Horse Quadrille Drill Team has been recently formed. This group was co-founded by Anita Dayton, the owner/trainer of K.I.S.S. Horse Center home to the rescue group Hope for Horses in Galt, CA; and Rebecca Brackney owner of Brackney Pet Services and photography studios in Rio Linda, CA.

Last October I wrote a pet column that featured Anita Dayton, a long time equestrian, trainer, horse rescuer, and owner of K.I.S.S. Horse Center. She is now in the process of creating a non-profit called Hope for Horses. This group is dedicated to caring for and rehoming horses in need.

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