Tag Archive: animals


The 411 on Breeding

I Think I’d Like to Breed My Dog, and What You Need to Know
By: Dr. Laura Leautier Dr. Leautier
People think they’d like to breed their dog for many reasons.  Maybe it’s the cutest and smartest dog they’ve ever owned, or they’ve erroneously heard it makes the dog a better pet to have a litter, or they want to show their kids the miracle of birth.  Whatever the reason, it’s best to give this huge decision careful thought and get as educated as possible about whether or not to breed your dog.
First, I’d like to give some reasons why you may decide it’s not right for you.  Did you know that spaying a dog before her first heat virtually guarantees she won’t get breast cancer?  Her risk is less than one percent.  After one heat it bumps up to DSC_0148-0018%, and after two heats or more it jumps to 26%.  So at that point basically 1 in 4 dogs will get mammary cancer.  Half the time it’s malignant, and half the time it’s benign.  But it still requires surgery and biopsying to know what type your dog has.  Spaying also prevents a pyometra (a common life-threatening uterine infection that most often requires emergency surgery).  If you decide to breed your dog, you need to set aside funds for a possible c-section.  These can run from $1,000-$2,000.  We see difficult births several times a month.  The miracle of birth is amazing, but sometimes it’s more stressful and costly than you’d expect.  The saddest times are when a pup or the mother doesn’t survive the birthing process.
If you decide that breeding your dog is right for you and your family, consider if your pet is right for breeding.  Health and temperament should be excellent, since reputable breeders strive to improve their breed, not pass on problems to the next pet and its owners.  Health clearances, which can cost several hundreds to several thousands, are the best way to make sure your dog is suitable for breeding.  Hip and elbow dysplasia, congenital cataracts and inherited blindness, thyroid problems, heart defects, and bleeding disorders are just some of the genetic problems that can be passed on unknowingly.  You’ll want to wait until after age two to breed your dog, because many of these tests can’t be performed until age two or older.  Most dogs go into heat every 6 to 9 months, so jot down the start and end of her heat on the calendar to help you plan for future breedings.  Most dogs “do it naturally” but sometimes they need help.  Dr. Sandoval and Dr. Leautier have been assisting with conception for more than 20 years and 15 years, respectively.  We time the breeding with multiple progesterone blood texesd8sts, and inseminate via regular artificial insemination or surgical insemination.  As you can see, it’s an expensive endeavor and not to be taken lightly.  If you have questions, feel free to give us a call.

My Dog Eats Grass, Does That Mean He’s Sick?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

The short answer is no; eating grass does not mean your dog is sick. Eating grass is a normal behavior in dogs. A study revealed that the majority of dogs eat grass routinely (79% of the dogs studied ate grass daily). The same study revealed less than 20% of dogs that ate grass vomited after eating the grass. This means that grass is a poor inducer of nausea and/or vomiting. So dogs eat grass normally and it doesn’t make them vomit enough to give support to the claim that dogs eat grass to make themselves vomit.

I’ve always heard dogs ate grass when they feel sick to intentionally cause themselves to vomit and I never questioned it until

images (1)veterinary school. Why is this “wives tale” so pervasive that most of us have accepted it as truth if it has been proven to be false? Nobody really knows, but consider this explanation. Grass if indigestible by dogs, so if grass is ingested it will remain in the stomach longer than digestible items. If the majority of dogs eat grass daily, when they vomit for any reason there is a strong possibility there will be grass in the vomitus. We see grass in the vomit and jump to a simple, but wrong conclusion that the grass caused the vomiting. I think over the years we have come to the erroneous conclusion that the grass causes vomiting just because it is present in the vomitus so often.

So if your dog eats grass, don’t worry so much. However, if you dog is vomiting please have him seen by one of our veterinarians to try and determine the real cause of the vomiting.

Why Should I Come In For Yearly Exams if Everything is Ok?
By. Dr. Ben Davidson DSC_0963
We wish the only reason you needed to come in for your pet’s yearly exam was because you missed our smiling faces or dearly love our coffee and cookies,  but there’s actually several good medical reasons why we want to see you.
        A lot can happen in a year.  There are a lot of not-so-obvious diseases that are picked up on routine exams or lab screenings, and may not be noticeable or known to someone that doesn’t do this all the time.  Those routine screenings and lab tests, much like the ones we humans are all supposed to get, are the best chance at early detection of diseases, and in some cases make a huge Golden Retriever puppydifference in the prognosis and outcome.
      Most pets are actually due for treatments or vaccines yearly.  Many of our pet friends benefit from yearly teeth cleanings.  Dogs that visit dog parks should get a fecal test each year to detect parasites.  And some vaccines are labeled as being effective for one year, such as bordatella (kennel cough), feline leukemia, and, in some instances, rabies.
        The Board of Pharmacy mandates that to issue prescribed drugs, either here from our clinic or by written prescription, we must have a current exam on file within the last 12 months.     bandit
 We know everyone wants what’s best for their pet.  We know you all do everything you can for their happiness and health.  One of the biggest challenges we face is not being able to talk to them, or I guess, them not being able to talk to us.  You usually can tell if something is really wrong with your pet, but how can you tell if something is just a little off?  We all know, for ourselves, when something isn’t quite right, and which of those times we should go see our doctor.  But for our pets, it’s not so easy.  Yearly exams and routine lab work help us find problems earlier than we might have otherwise, and hopefully before something has advanced too far.

Road trip with your furry friend?

By: Dr. Carrie Wright cwright

I remember the first time I took my dogs to the dog beaches in California  – I thought being a vet would have prepared me for the unanticipated trials that arose from being with my girls for 24 hours Traveling with your peta day in a non local area.  But I wasn’t prepared, and now I have some advice for you!

Traveling with your pet can be a terrific experience, but only if you plan ahead.  Make sure vaccines are current (and this means young animals should have at least 3 sets ending around 16 weeks of age), and always bring a copy of your vaccination certificate with you.  Rabies is a nationwide concern and many state borders require proof of vaccination before allowing access to their state.  As well as the certificate, a copy of your pet’s medical records is recommended, especially if they have a history of illness or chronic disease.  I think it’s a great idea to locate a veterinarian along the way or at your final destination just in case you need home_again_320some help.  It is helpful to have a permanent ID implant such as a microchip – collars and leashes with ID can easily be removed or lost… It usually costs around $45 and will significantly increase your pet’s chance of recovery.  Some companies such as Home Again aid in that recovery (with signs and notifications to the surrounding animal groups/hospitals) or even medical bills if your pet is injured while lost.

Many diseases are geographic, so please check to see if you need preventative medications or additional vaccinations prior to travel (i.e. – Heartworm disease, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis).  Fleas and ticks can be a nuisance to both you and your pets, and can cause serious disease as well, so talk to us about prevention treatment options.

If this is your pet’s first trip, you should make sure they are able to travel for long distances.  Try a shorter trip and see how Romeo-is-Planningit goes.  Would sedation have been nice? An anti anxiety medication? Motion sickness drugs?  Sedation can be a great option for long trips, but do you want the potential 12 hour effect?  Always bring towels for cleaning up those nasty side effects of motion sickness (or puppy pads work well to line your seats).  Keep in mind that tired dogs are usually calmer in the car, so make sure your friend gets plenty of exercise prior to loading into the car. And cats, well…you might call us and we can have a chat.

Keep those pets buckled! Or at least contained – no one wants a 70 lb dog climbing over their shoulder while driving down the freeway at 75mph… Kennels, pet barriers, and seatbelts/harnesses have been created to prevent unwanted risks. PJ-BB519_DOGCAR_D_20110628165953 Again, practice with these PRIOR to your trip.

Be sure to stop for rest breaks! You should ideally stop every 3-4 hours along the road to offer water and a potty break.  Stay clear of heavily soiled areas – although vaccines prevent diseases like parvo and distemper, it would be no fun to pick up a gastrointestinal parasite on vacation.

Many motels/hotels accept pets for a small deposit, but be sure to call ahead to make your reservations.  When you do have to leave your pet in your room, make sure they are either in a crate or kennel, and stand outside the door to make Hotel-La-Jolla-San-Diego-Hotels-Pet-Friendly-Hotelsure they don’t bark or howl – although pet friendly, there are limitations! And not that you haven’t heard this one before – do not leave your pet in the car –temperatures can rise too quickly with very serious consequences.

Have fun with your pet, and be sure to call us if you have any questions!

Don’t Take Your Puppy Out for Walks or to Other Public Places Until It’s Safe!!
By: Laura Leautier DVM Dr. Leautier
It’s very important to keep your puppy from going out in public until it’s fully protected from parvo and distemper.  A typical puppy vaccine schedule starts at 6 to 8 weeks of age.  The pup will receive three to four sets of DHPP vaccine (distemper, hepatitis, parvo, and parainfluenza) spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart until it is 16 weeks or older.  It will also receive canine cough (bordetella) and rabies vaccines.  Pups with exposure to livestock (or sea lions!) should also get vaccinated against leptospirosis.  In addition, we  deworm all puppies, because most are born with parasites or dog_sitting_on_park_bench_print-r2b14576d5d3f4697a191a511d691126d_wvc_8byvr_512acquire them from their mother’s environment.  If your pup will be going to public places or you have small children, we strongly recommend a monthly dewormer, such as Iverheart.
The reason we give multiple doses of vaccines is because the protective antibodies the puppy received from its mother start to fade off between 6 and 12 weeks of age (each pup is different and each of the diseases can have a different time frame when they fade away).  Our goal is to vaccinate at least two times (3 to 4 weeks apart) past all maternal antibodies, because those maternal antibodies have a blocking effect on the vaccines we give.  Once the last puppy vaccines are administered, we puppies walkingrecommend keeping pups from public places until 2 weeks later so the vaccine has fully kicked in.  Then they should be able to safely walk through the neighborhood or go to dog parks and not contract parvo or distemper.
If you’ve ever known someone whose pet had parvo, you know how devastating it can be.  The virus attacks the gut and bone marrow and causes vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and blood infections.  If untreated, most puppies don’t make it.  Treatment can take a few days to a week or more and is very expensive.  The microscopic parvo virus particles are passed in the feces and can live on the grass and soil for years.  Since you can’t see it, you can’t avoid it.  The amount of virus particles shed from a recovering parvo dog is enough virus to infect all the dogs in our town!  So that’s why it’s so important to go through the full immunization schedule and not take your puppy out for walks until it’s safe!

The Real Scoop on Poop

How Long is Too Long for My Dog/Cat Not to Defecate?

By: Dr. Sara Hogle use sh

I always recommend monitoring both the quantity and quality of what your pet ingests (food and water intake) and what they eliminate (urination and defecation habits). The quantity and color of urine and the feces color, texture, odor, and presence of mucus or blood are all indicators of how well your pet’s body is functioning overall.  Often times changes in the characteristics of your animals feces or urine can be the first sign of a health problem developing, so it is important to be aware of your dog or cat’s elimination habits and to regularly monitor for changes in the fecal or urine appearance.

Constipation is defined by inadequate or complete lack of defecation (stool passage). The majority of dogs or cats will look like they are trying to go, need to go, or are experiencing discomfort when defecating without producing stool or producing a very small volume of firm/dry feces. If this difficulty or discomfort associated with defecation produces little stool and is persistent (lasts more than a day or 2) it is very important to seek veterinary assistance. Constipated pets may also appear bloated, uncomfortable, may have a decrease or loss of appetite, and can even start to vomit if left untreated. It is recommended that we determine the cause of the constipation through diagnostics and physical exam and resolve it prior to the dog or cat exhibiting any of these symptoms. Dog bathroom

Ultimately, it is very important to regularly monitor not only what your pet is eating but also what they are eliminating in an effort to catch and resolve health problems early in the course of disease. If resolved sooner these problems tend to improve more completely and quickly, therefore, getting your beloved pet back on track sooner!

Vaccines,What are the Risks and Benefits to Your Pets.

By: Dr. Bob Baker Dr baker with penny

As a veterinarian I am faced with questions about vaccinations every day, what are the risks? what are the benefits?  To say that vaccines are safe is true, however there are adverse effects associated with vaccination.  While extremely rare, anaphylactic allergic reactions can occur and must be dealt with immediately. Other allergic reactions, fever, vomiting, facial swelling occur on occasion, but are still rare. The old feline vaccinations were associated with development of an injection site sarcoma; this occurred more commonly in patients with a genetic predisposition to cancer. So yes there are some risks associated with vaccination.  When it comes to vaccination, we have to assess the relative risk of vaccination vs. the risk of the disease.  Rabies vaccine however is always indicated as it is state law to vaccinate dogs and cats.  Most pets however, do not have the social risk factors of humans, there  are some such as those that go to groomers, boarding kennels, and day care.  These pets have risk factors more like us, where we go to work, school, shopping; where we interact with others that may or may not be vaccinated or be incubating or spreading a contagious disease.

DSC_0854When an animal or person is vaccinated, most will form antibodies to the false infection that will protect from the real infection when the subject is exposed to the pathogen.  There are however, some individuals that are genetic non-responders, meaning they cannot form antibodies to the vaccine.  These are the individuals that get sick despite vaccination.  This happens in canine parvovirus on occasion because the dog, no matter how many times they have been vaccinated, simply cannot respond to the presented antigen.  So how do we protect these “non-responders” in the population, along with the individuals that cannot receive vaccines because of illness, immunocompromise, or allergies.  The key is a concept called herd immunity, and it derives from infectious disease management mostly in the cattle and dairy industry.  The more individuals that are vaccinated, the more protected the herd, including those that cannot be vaccinated or are non-responders.  The more individuals that do not receive the vaccine, the more likely the herd immunity will fail and an outbreak will occur.

Measles is a virus that belongs to a group of viruses  called Morbillivirus.  It evolved from a cattle virus called Rinderpest around  1100-1200 A.D.   When the measles virus first adapted to infect humans, it had a high mortality rate, killing up to 60% of those infected.  Over time, the virus (and us) have changed to be less fatal, but still is very infective.  It is interestingsierra to note that Rinderpest, the cattle morbillivirus, has been eradicated by a global vaccination protocol, similar to what we did with the Smallpox virus in humans, and almost did with the Polio virus until the Taliban in the tribal areas of Pakistan started shooting the vaccinators.  The canine morbillivirus causes a disease called distemper, which most veterinarians in practice today will never see because enough people continue to give their dogs the vaccine to keep herd immunity up and individuals protected by a highly safe and effective vaccine.

Sugar Substitute Xylitol is Poisonous to your Pet

By: Dr. Anne Dayton ALD

Sugar substitutes may sound wonderful and may they are if you are a human. If you are a dog, one particular sugar substitute, Xylitol, is potentially lethal. It is often found in sugarless gum, certain baked goods, and some sugarless candies. It may also be found in certain flavored human medications and toothpaste. The potential toxicity to cats is still unknown.

There are two deadly effect Xylitol can have. The first is Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). In a dog the pancreas confuses xylitol with real sugar ad releases insulin to store the “sugar”. The problem is that Xylitol does not offer the extra calories of real sugar and the rush of insulin only serves to remove the real sugar from the circulation. Blood sugar levels plummet resulting in weakness, disorientation, tremors, and potentially seizures.

Labwork The other reaction associated with Xylitol is Hepatic Necrosis the actual destruction of the liver tissue. How this happens remains unknown, but the doses of Xylitol required to produce this effect are much higher than the hypoglycemic doses described above. Signs take longer to show up (typically 8-12 hours) and surprisingly not all dogs that experience hepatic necrosis, will have experienced hypoglycemia first. A lucky dog experiences only temporary illness, but alternatively, a complete and acute liver failure can result with death following. Internal hemorrhage and inability of blood to clot is commonly involved.

It does not take many sticks of gum to poison a dog, especially a small dog. Symptoms typically begin within 30 minutes and can last for more than 12 hours. Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur. A example of a Hypoglycemic dose of Xylitol would be if you have a 10 lb dog it could be poisoned by as little as a stick and a half of gum.  The dose to cause the Gum and Xylitol Hepatic Necrosis would be a whole unopened pack of gum for the same 10 lb dog.

To treat a dog with Xylitol toxicity the patient ideally should be seen quickly (within 30 minutes) and hopefully can be made to vomit the gum/ candy. Beyond that point a dextrose (sugar) IV drip is prudent for a good 24 hours. Liver enzyme and blood clotting test are monitored for 2 to 3 days. Blood levels of potassium are ideally monitored as well. If you are worried about your pet, and think that they might have gotten into a product that contains Xylitol please first contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at  (888) 426-4435 (please note there is a fee of $65). If they recommend treatment give us a call, or if you have questions please give us a call at (775) 358-6880.

Logo03whiteonorange

Parvovirus

What is Parvovirus?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

Parvoviruses are a large group with almost every mammal species (including humans) seems to have its own parvovirus. Fortunately, each virus is specific for which animal species it can infect (i.e. the canine parvovirus will not infect people). However, the canine parvovirus will affect most members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, and foxes).

While the parvoviruses of other species have been well known for decades, the canine parvovirus is a relative newcomer. The original canine parvovirus, discovered in 1967, lead to a series of infections in the 1970’s and unfortunately still to this day.

Golden Retriever puppyThe most common form of the virus is called CPV-2b, but there is a new particularly virulent strain of parvovirus (CPV-2c) which is rapidly becoming the second most common form of canine parvovirus. Fortunately, currently available vaccines cover all variants of canine parvovirus including CPV-2c, as do all the commercially available diagnostic test kits.

After a 3-7 day incubation period, the disease manifests itself with vomiting, diarrhea, and poor appetite. If untreated, death from dehydration and sepsis is most commonly the end result. If treated with aggressive care, up to 80% of patients will survive and go on to lead normal lives after infection. Since the treatment is extensive, often times requiring isolation in a veterinary hospital for many days, we must be prepared for significant expense of treatment (often times over $1,000).

Treatment for parvovirus infection centers on supportive care. This means that the clinical problems that come up in the course of the infection are addressed individually with the goal of keeping the patient alive long enough for an immune response to generate. We do not have effective antiviral drugs and must rely on the patient’s immune system for cure. Puppy on Fluids Intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, anti-diarrhea medication, antibiotics, and pain medication are paramount if the pet is to survive infection.

The sad truth of canine parvovirus is that we could eradicate it with simple vaccination as we have with other terrible diseases (ever heard of small pox? ) Vaccination must be done at an early age (as early as 6-7 weeks of age), then repeated every 3-4 weeks until the pet is 16 weeks of age, then every 1-3 years into adulthood.

The difficultly lies in the robust nature of the virus; it can live on surfaces (pavement, grass, dirt, bottom of shoes and the SAMSUNGlike) for months to years. A sick pet’s feces and/or vomit can spread thousands to millions of viral particles into the environment. If an unvaccinated, or undervaccinated, dog sniffs or licks up viral particles, they can become infected.

So, if you have a new puppy, make sure you get him or her vaccinated at the correct times with your veterinarian and avoid areas where dogs congregate until the vaccine series is finished.

Does a wet nose mean my dog is healthy? If it is dry is he sick?

By: Dr. Jackie Pulver Dr. Jackie Pulver

Most dogs have a cold, wet nose-we have all felt this when they nuzzle our hand for a pet. The nose is wet for multiple reasons. Inside of the nose there are glands that secrete watery fluid to help cool the dog through evaporation. The nose is also an area that a dog sweats from 250_Seven_s_Nose(much like the foot pads). Tears travel from the eyes through the nasolacrimal duct to the nose and provide moisture. The moisture in the nose may also make the dog more sensitive to odors. Dogs also constantly lick their noses!

Dogs will have different moisture content to the nose that varies day by day, hour by hour, dog by dog. The nose may be wet and cool one moment, then warmer and drier the next. The nose wetness (or lack thereof) also changes with the humidity.

A dry nose in a dog is therefore not an indicator of health in our pet. We cannot accurately determine fever from a nose. If Golden Retriever puppyyour dog has a dry nose but is otherwise showing no signs of illness, this may be a normal nose for your dog at that time. If your dog’s nose is cracked, scaling, bleeding, or your dog is having any changes in his normal routines or behaviors, he should be examined by your veterinarian.