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Thanksgiving day is just around the corner and for many families this means the tradition of spending the day preparing a delicious turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. Us humans are not the only ones who look forward to this meal, and I see many pets in the ER after they have decided to help themselves to a serving. While our pets may find this to be an initially satisfying (albeit naughty) indulgence, it can set them up for the development of pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening disease. Read more

Dylan: The story of a determined little bunny that won’t give up!

In early October, someone found an injured baby bunny – estimated to be about 2 months old – on a street corner in Hayward, California, and brought him to the Hayward Animal Shelter. His severely injured right hind leg was examined by the shelter’s vet, then he was offered for rescue. Now named Dylan, he was pulled by the House Rabbit Society and sent to a medical foster home in the East Bay. Read more

Cataracts in Dogs

What is a cataract? 

Cataracts are characterized by the development of opacity in the lens of the eye. The lens is the normally clear structure that sits directly behind the iris (the colored part of the eye), and its job is to focus light as it moves toward the back part of the eye (the retina). Despite its clarity, the lens is in fact made of tissue fibers. As the animal ages, the lens becomes more compact with fibers. These compact fibers are what develop the opacity, and if complete, it prevents the passage of light to the retina leading to blindness. Read more

The Science of Flatulence: Understanding the gas they pass.

Flatulence comes from an excess of gases in the intestinal tract. These gases may represent air that has been swallowed, gas produced in the biochemical process of digestion, gas diffusion from the bloodstream, or gases produced by the bacteria that populate the intestinal tract. Read more

Trick or Treat or Trip to the ER?

Halloween is just around the corner—and as surely as fairies, witches and ghosts will scramble up to front doors, at least a handful of pups will arrive at my ER to be treated for a variety of frightening follies. In an effort to take some of the scare out of your holiday, keep an eye out for these typical trick-or-treat night dangers.

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Halitosis: Doggy breath may not always be from dental disease!

Halitosis is the fancy word for bad breath, and that odor is nearly always a sign of a bigger problem. Read more

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine: The Eastern side of caring for our pets

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is one of the cornerstones of treatment in our referral hospital setting, and I whole-heartedly believe that it is an integral part of an all-embracing approach to therapy. I have observed its remarkable benefits countless times, especially in our surgery, oncology and aging internal medicine patients. I am frequently asked about the overall concept of holistic medicine, and I hope this blog will help answer questions regarding this fascinating and emerging area of veterinary medicine, and how this modality can augment a Western approach. Read more

Tetanus: “Lock Jaw”

We have all heard of tetanus shots and have some sense that we are supposed to periodically get them, especially after a dirty cut, scratch with a piece of metal, or some sort of bite wound. Some of us may even know that tetanus is often referred to as lock jaw, but the general knowledge of tetanus generally does not extend much beyond that, and many people are not aware that tetanus can be a problem for animals as well as people. Read more

Bones in Dogs

I am commonly asked the question, “What types of bones are okay to give to my dog?”  There are two angles to consider: bones offered as treats, and bones offered as part of a home-cooked diet.  From a risk vs. benefit standpoint, the short answer to both angles is: “None.”  The idea that it is natural for dogs to chew on bones is a popular one (and not a wrong one, either), however, giving bones to your dogs can be a dangerous gamble that can lead to injury, an expensive veterinary bill, and possibly death.  Read more

Urethral obstruction in male cats: The urgent side of FLUTD

Urethral Obstruction in Male Cats:

What is it?

Urinary blockage is almost exclusively a problem reserved for male cats, and occurs when the urethra becomes obstructed. The urethra is the “tube” that drains urine from the bladder out of the penis, and in males, it is very long and narrow. I usually describe to owners the difference between male and female urethras by using the example of McDonald’s straws… the female urethra is like a milkshake straw, while the male urethra is like a coffee stirrer. It gives the mental visual of just how much smaller of an opening male cats have, predisposing them to obstruction. Read more

Advantage vs. Advantix: The deadly difference of 3 little letters!

Permethrin Toxicity:

Bayer manufactures two types of flea control that can easily be confused with one another, leading to lethal complications in our feline family members. Advantage has formulations approved for both dogs and cats, while the product Advantix is intended for use in dogs ONLY.  The little girl pictured to the left is an actual patient that we treated on 9/11/11, and happily, she went on to make a full recovery.  It is my hope that this topic helps prevent any further accidental applications in our kitty companions. Read more



Crystalluria is the next frustrating urinary condition in the FLUTD complex that our kitties have to endure, and it is another very common medical condition and reason for a visit to the veterinarian. Read more

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis: The most common (and frustrating!) cause of FLUTD

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC)

Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is the most common diagnosis in cats with lower urinary tract signs. As previously discussed, FIC is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that the term FIC is used if all diagnostics fail to confirm the presence of another disease such as infection, urinary stones, urethral obstruction, tumor, or kidney disease. Read more

Antidepressant Ingestion in Pets

One of the exciting things about emergency veterinary medicine is that you never know what is going to come through the door next, and you have several chances of playing the detective with regards to what is wrong with our “mute” furry family members. One of the more challenging presenting signs is the sudden onset of agitation or restlessness, which can be caused by many things: pain, fear, itching, inability to urinate, breathing issues, and something to always to consider: TOXINS. Read more

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease: Overview

“My cat is straining to pee and he keeps going in and out of the litter box”…. This is a very common call over the course of an emergency weekend, and my workday wouldn’t be complete without at least one urinary issue coming my way. It is not uncommon to see 2-3 cases of pee troubles in a shift, and I am often asked, “What causes this?” Read more