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Posts from the ‘PETS University’ Category

Ick! It’s a Tick! The top 5 tick myths dispelled


Disease-carrying ticks can pose serious health risks to both dogs and people, no matter what state you live in. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that ticks in every state can carry disease, and the number of tick-borne diseases is on the rise. Here in Northern California, they seem to be everywhere, and it is not uncommon for me to find an “incidental tick or two” during my physical exam. This usually leads to a tick-related conversation where I sometimes have to dispel a tick myth or two. Read more

Dilution is the solution to pollution: Tips to keep help keep your lawn free from urine spots


It is a common misconception that “acid” in a dog’s urine is what causes the brown spots left behind on our lawns. However, the culprit is actually the high nitrogen content of the urine. Nitrogen is “the waste” in the urine and is the result of protein breakdown through normal body processes. Because a canine diet is very high in protein, there will be high levels of nitrogen, and you’ll be battling blemishes for as long as your pet uses the lawn for its place of business. Read more

Foxtails and the Serious Risks to Pets


As an ER vet, I officially mark the start of the summer season when I see several patient charts over the course of a 10 hour shift with the presenting complaint: sudden sneezing. By the third one I think, “Another one? What the foxtail!” Read more

Summer tips for your dog: Safety while enjoying fun in the sun


This morning, as I watched my partially bald dog Dharma bask in the sun’s rays, I was reminded of the risks that the sun and heat can pose to our pups. It has prompted me to discuss a few sun tips to help keep our dogs safe- while still having fun- this summer season. Read more

Ever Consider a Guinea Pig as a Pet?


March is “Adopt-A-Rescued-Guinea Pig Month,” so I am out to ask if this furry little rodent would make a good pet for you and your family. Guinea pigs are small in size but big in cuteness, and these social critters have much to offer for those whose life-styles may allow for dog or cat companionship. Read more

Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) in Dogs


Back pain is a common presenting complaint, and working in the ER, I see the full spectrum of signs, from reports of pets “just acting off,” to complete loss of function in the rear legs. The wide spectrum of clinical signs that can be seen depends upon many factors, including location and type of disk disease, the velocity of disk contact with the spinal cord, and the amount and duration of spinal cord compression. Read more

Giardia in Pets


Diarrhea. Boy, do I see lots of this, and when I say “lots,” I mean lots. In fact, on some shifts, it feels like that’s all I (and sometimes my clothing) see. One of the common causes of diarrhea in pets worldwide is Giardia. Giardiasis is caused by a single celled protozoan parasite that is transmitted by a fecal-oral route, meaning that the parasite is swallowed in food and water (think puddles, lakes and streams) contaminated with feces. Note: your pet does not have to eat feces to get the parasite! Read more

A “Pot Patch” for Pups?


A company called Medical Marijuana Delivery Systems, LLC (MMDS) acquired the rights to a patent in February 2011 for a transcutaneous (through the skin) delivery of medical marijuana to humans and animals. Since our pets suffer from many of the same debilitating illnesses that we do, and with many states legalizing the use of medical marijuana, it doesn’t seem like such a stretch to apply this concept of care to our pets. This “pot patch for pups” has been given the trade name Tetracan, and the goal is for public availability by year’s end. Read more

What to do with a choking pet:


Having “something stuck in the throat” is a common problem due to our pets’ curious nature and indiscriminate eating habits. Many of you may remember Clover, the Bernese Mountain Dog, that got a little over exuberant while chewing and accidentally swallowed her tennis ball! This girl presented for difficulties with both swallowing and breathing, and x-rays revealed that her distress was from toy-induced turmoil. Read more

Why do cats do what they do?


I am often asked to explain the rationale behind certain feline behaviors and my answer usually begins with, “Didn’t you know? Cat’s as a species have their own manual, and each cats’ manual is different from the next.” I think this breadth of non-conforming behaviors is just one of the reasons we find cats so endearing. And since dog deeds were examined last week, I thought it only appropriate to address the curious conducts of cats this week. Read more

(Ab)Normal Dog Behaviors and the Reasons Why


From humping to targeted sniffing, our dogs seem to have a plethora of somewhat disturbing behaviors– that is, if you happen to walk on two legs instead of four. While no one  knows for certain the “why” behind these behaviors, we do have some theories.  And until the time dogs begin to speak human and divulge all of their secrets, we’ll just have to continue to make our best guesses of the weird, true and freaky. Read more

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)


One of the more common problems I see on an emergency basis is a disease process called Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis, also known as “HGE.” The most common history I hear from owners is their dog started having diarrhea and then all of a sudden it became very watery and bloody. This can appear horrifying to first time observers and usually prompts an immediate trip to the ER. Read more

A Veterinarian’s Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions


Veterinarians love putting together a plan of care for their patients—so why should New Year’s be an exception? Here are my suggestions for ten (I think fairly reasonable) resolutions that can make a big improvement for your dogs and you. For those who’ve already embraced many of these good habits, this list can serve as a chance to pat yourself on the back.

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions:

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Holiday Hazards: Tips For Keeping Your Pet Merry This Season


O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!  You are beautiful, but you can hurt me!

As the holiday season gears up, have you ever noticed that with the increase in fun and festivities comes a simultaneous increase in the level pet mischief? There just seems to be no way for our curious pups to resist the allure of all that holiday paraphernalia. To the left is one such pup… this little Frenchie arrived at the ER with a one-inch of ribbon peeking out from her rectum, which I was (luckily!) able to remove without incident. Read more

Be Prepared: Four Emergency Room Essentials Before You Leave Home!


Working in the ER, I see a full range of preventable predicaments that complicate addressing a pet’s immediate health crisis. I’d like to highlight four simple measures you can take as a pet parent to prevent distress and concern should an emergency arise while you are away or if you need to seek care outside of your normal veterinary relationship. No one can predict the future, so it is best to plan ahead! Read more