Sierra Veterinary Clinic: Pet Blog

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

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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Advances in Veterinary Medicine

As pets are becoming more and more a part of the family, veterinary medical advances are enabling the level of care to parallel and even in some cases surpass that of human medicine. This is driven by the human animal bond. Pet caregivers often have pictures of their cherished companions on their phones, are housing them indoors, and even welcoming them in their beds. It only makes sense that they would demand a higher level of care, and want their canines and felines to live as long as possible.

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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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Common eye problems in pets and what is an emergency

Growths around the eye on the eyelid and surrounding tissue often do not pose a serious threat to you companion. Most commonly they are caused by cysts of the Meibomian glands that secrete lubrication to the eye, or are warts. Even when they touch the surface of the eye, the cornea, they may not need to be removed if they are not causing trauma or significant discomfort. Swelling or infection of the gland of the third eyelid, commonly called a Cherry eye is significant. It seldomly responds to topical therapy, and usually requires a surgical repair.

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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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Heartworm shouldn't be ignored

Autopsy of heart infected with heartworm

Canines and felines are now more at risk for Heartworm than ever before. The recent change in rainfall patterns has allowed mosquitoes to flourish in our area. On average Sierra Veterinary clinic diagnoses 6-7 cases of canine Heartworm per year. It is only May, and we have already identified this deadly disease in 5 dogs. In the past, many of the pets had traveled outside of California; now most of the patients are just local inhabitants. Please protect your cherished companions with routine preventatives.

Heart-worm is a deadly disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Even indoor pets can be exposed to mosquitoes, and it only takes one bite by an infected mosquito to create a problem.

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Intervertebral disc disease in animals

Any dog can develop intervertebral disc disease. In between each back bone there is a soft material that cushions the space between each vertebra, allowing for movement, and preventing the bones from rubbing against each other. As the body ages, the pad of fibrocartilage tissue becomes much harder, making the disc more prone to rupture.

Some dog breeds, especially Dachshunds, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Pekingeses, and Doberman Pinchers are prone to this problem. The discs in the Dachshund age prematurely due to water loss, cellular necrosis, and calcification. As a result, making the material becomes more brittle and prone to breaking apart. When material oozes out of the discs, it can put pressure on the spinal cord causing a wide range of problems from limited activity, stiffness, pain, hunched back, crying out, inability to urinate or defecate, paresis-partial loss of movement, to paralysis-loss of muscle function, full loss of movement. This problem also occurs in felines; but is much less common.

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Dogs can benefit from using a treadmill

Exercise is important for dogs, just like it is in people. Increasing your canine’s activity level is not only a good way to maintain a healthy weight; but it can help to prevent joint and bone disease, improve heart health, and protect against diabetes. Treadmills also have the advantage that they can be used regardless of the weather, light, or time of day. This is also a great option for pet owners who are not physically able to walk their companions. Aquatic, or water filled tanks with a treadmill at the bottom are now more commonly used for physical therapy in patients that are recovering from bone or joint surgeries, as well as others who are covering from trauma.

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