Sierra Veterinary Clinic: Pet Blog

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

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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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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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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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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What happens when your dog tests positive for Heartworm

What happens when your dog tests positive for Heartworm

Heartworm is a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is an issue in our area, and indoor pets are also at risk. Prevention of this condition is easy and inexpensive, especially when you compare it to the expense of trying to treat the disease, the pain it causes your pet, and often the heartbreak of losing your pet.

In cats there is no treatment, and 1-2 worms can result in death. For canines, the treatment involves using a medication that is a form of arsenic. The treatment process itself has risks and is expensive; the exact therapy process and risk is dependant upon your pet's stage of illness.

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Springtime Pest and Parasite Prevention

Springtime Pest and Parasite Prevention

The weather has warmed up, and both you and your pets are probably spending more time outside. The warmer weather also increases exposure to fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other parasites, which can cause problems ranging from annoying itching, all the way to potentially fatal conditions like Heartworm.

This spring promises to be even worse than normal due to the mild winter and early warm weather. We're already seeing an unusually high number of cases relating to fleas and ticks coming into the clinic.

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Is your pet in pain?

Is your pet in pain?

We are all getting older, and that includes your pets. As pets and people age, those nagging aches and pains seem to get worse and worse. There are many factors which can contribute to joint pain in your pet, including lack of physical exercise, poor diet, weight control, and some medications. As we deal with this cold winter weather, joint pain which may normally be manageable can be magnified, to the point where it begins affecting your pet's daily life.

Symptoms of your pet's pain can be easy or difficult to identify. Obvious symptoms include lethargy, stiffness, limping, or reluctance to move. Other behaviors which indicate your much your pet might be suffering include aggressive or defensive reactions when touched, unusual barking for no reason, or uncharacteristic hiding.

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What you should know about Roundworms and Hookworms

If you have a pet, you may have heard of Roundworms and Hookworms. These are intestinal parasites that many pets are born with, and some contract after birth through contact with infected feces or other surfaces in parks, playgrounds, or even your backyard.

Both Hookworm and Roundworms are zoonotic parasites, meaning that they are easily passed from pets to humans, most often to children. Children seem to be more vulnerable than adults since they often play on the ground and sometimes place dirty objects into their mouths. The parasites are usually passed between species as eggs, which hatch into larvae and then begin to move throughout the body.

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Chewing on an electrical cord can be life threatening to a dog or a cat

Generally this happens in young animals, and occurs more commonly with canines. It is seen more frequently around the holiday time with decoration lights; but can occur at any time that a pet has access to an electrical cord.

It can result in a wide range of problems. Locally there can be direct trauma to the tissues of the mouth, especially the tongue and lips. The duration of chewing time will affect the severity of damage.

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Routine health exams are critical to pet wellness

Physical examinations are recommended at least annually for pets less than 7 years of age, and twice a year for seniors. We at Sierra Veterinary clinic want to play a central role in maximizing the quality and quantity of years for your cherished companions; and are pleased that you have chosen us as your pet care provider.

A through head to tail evaluation can help to identify issues early on, giving a better chance for a positive outcome. Factors such as diet, dental care, body condition, mobility, heart health, preventative care, and others are all essential facets of wellness for your canines and felines, and should be routinely discussed. Additional lab work may be recommended depending on your pet’s age or condition.

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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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Dental disease affects more than your pets teeth

Dental disease is the most common yet ignored and undetected disease affecting both canines and felines today.

Why is this the case? People don’t like to or are not able to look inside their canine or feline’s mouth. It is not pleasant to evaluate the teeth and gums, and can be difficult as well as dangerous depending on your pet’s temperament. Animals don’t like this either. Unless a pet owner is diligent from an early age, it can be challenging to start brushing a dog or cat’s teeth once that pet is older. Because we don’t see what the teeth look like it is easy to ignore dental disease in the earlier stages. Animals are also very good at hiding pain and are survivors; therefore, they may not show symptoms of dental pathology until it is very advanced. I see patients on a daily basis that have had teeth fall out of their mouth due to rotting, and yet these animals are still eating dry food and have good energy. People are also worried about cleanings that are performed under anesthesia.

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Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Allergies occur in animals just like in people, but are more common in dogs than cats. People’s symptoms often involve congestion and sneezing, which can occur in canines and felines as well. However, animals more typically present with symptoms affecting the skin and ears. I routinely see skin problems on a daily basis that are allergy related, especially in the Spring and Summer months.

Symptoms can occur year round or seasonally depending on the underlying trigger(s). At the skin, pet owners may notice many different things including hair loss, moisture, inflammation, bumps, scabs, and others. Pets often will scratch, lick, and chew at many locations of the body. At the ears there can be inflammation, closing down of the canals, odor, discharge, and head shaking. The ears are really just an extension of the skin.

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Chinese Herbs in Veterinary Medicine

Chinese herbs have been used in people for centuries. They are now more available for use in animals as part of alternative medical treatments. The term herb is actually a misnomer, as not all of the therapies are plant based, some are from animals, and some are minerals. At one time human materials such as teeth, nails, or bodily fluids were utilized; but this is no longer commonly done. Herbal medicine can be used in combination with other alternative treatments such as acupuncture, or used alongside modern Western medicine. Many types of illness and symptoms can be treated with this modality of care including organ disease, cancer, paralysis, seizures, allergies, and others.

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More cases of parvovirus than normal

Puppy infected with Parvo

Canine parvovirus is a serious, deadly virus that attacks the intestinal tract of dogs. Normally contracted through exposure to an infected dog's feces, the virus is extremely hardy and can survive extreme temperatures and direct exposure to sunlight. A surface exposed to infected feces can remain contaminated long after the feces are removed, and the virus can even be carried on shoes and clothing.

Puppies are the most likely to contract the parvovirus. Certain breeds are more susceptible (Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, and Pit Bulls), but all dogs are at risk. Cats rarely contract the virus. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea (often with blood), loss of appetite, fever or low body temperature, and depression.

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Don’t let your pet get into a sticky situation with Gorilla Glue

Curious dogs can be harmed by Gorilla Glue

Gorilla Glue toxicity is a very serious problem, and can rapidly end your companion’s life. Many people are not aware that this common household item could pose a health risk for their pets.

Gorilla Glue is a polyurethane material that is activated with moisture. Diphenylmethane Diisocyanate (MDI) is the active ingredient. When triggered, the foaming action allows this product to expand as needed to fill empty space as it cures. This is wonderful if you are using it for the intended purpose of holding items together; however, the results are hugely detrimental when Gorilla Glue is accidentally ingested by a curious canine.

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