Tag Archive: exam

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.

Shedding 101

Dr. Baker

                                         Bob Baker, DVM

Everyone that has a pet dog or cat knows that they shed hair.  While this is most often not a problem for the pet, it can be a problem for owners for the aesthetic displeasure of having a “hairy home” or even more serious for those with pet allergies.

Truth be know, most people that are allergic to pets are mostly allergic to the dander, or shed skin proteins rather than the hair itself.  Techniques used to minimize shedding problems are helpful though to people with pet allergies.


There are some dogs and cat breeds that are considered “low shedders.”  There are some dogs that shed smaller amounts of hair continuously like people (yes we shed too!), and certainly we’ve all experienced the seasonal “blowing of coat” where there is fur flying everywhere.  There are also the cats and dogs that develop hair mats, big thick clumps of fur that can grow to enormous proportions.

So how can I manage my pet’s shedding?  Well first of all, there is no magic cure for shedding.  There is no spray or food additive that will stop this naturally occurring condition.  But here is a straightforward plan that will make your world a less hairy place.


  •  Brush your pet.  The more hair that ends up in the brush, the less will end up in the  nvironment.  How often would depend on your pet, use some common sense. There are also different types of brushes and combs for different types of hair coat. Try to make it into a positive enjoyable experience for both of you
  • Feed good quality diet. We at Baring recommend the Hills Diets. 
  • bulldoginbathBathe your dog (and cat) as needed. Bathing helps remove dead hairs, and keeps the remaining coat clean.  Pets will normally shed a great deal during and right after a bath as the dead hairs come loose.  Be sure to use a shampoo for pets, not human shampoos…wrong pH.
  • Have regular checkups. Many diseases can affect the skin and hair coat. Regular visits to your veterinarian will help identify problems early, and provide more effective treatment.
  • Problems: Under no circumstances should there be areas of bald skin during a normal shed.  This is called alopecia, and it is not normal.  If there is a rash, itchiness, or odor from the skin, those problems need to be investigated.  Also, some pets that have very heavy coats, or get matting of the fur, shaving becomes an option.  Be careful of sunburn though!


Why Does Your Pet Need a Physical Examination Before Vaccinations?

By: Dr. Carrie Wright 

Why not just go to a low cost vaccine clinic you ask? Well, vaccines are important – there are many preventable illnesses that can be avoided with a proper vaccine schedule (such as the rampant Parvo epidemic here in Reno/Sparks area, or Rabies

which can be passed to humans). But there may be even more conditions and disease processes that can be picked up with a simple physical exam.   Not to mention, early detection often translates into financial savings for you in the long run. And finally, according to the Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medicine, a licensed veterinarian must perform a physical examination on your pet before administering vaccinations.A physical examination usually starts with obtaining a detailed history of your pet.    We typically ask you about your pet’s lifestyle, any changes in behavior, appetite and eliminations, and any other concerns you may have. Even before we first touch your pet, we observe his mentation (level of alertness and how he responds to us), and watch him move around the room (which can tell us about possible gait abnormalitits or arthritic pain). We quantify vital signs, such as heart rate (listening for any arrhythmias or murmurs) , respiratory rate (in case we hear increased or decreased sounds), and body temperature, and obtain your pet’s weight (which we can compare to previous visits).

Next, we check your pet’s mucous membranes (which can tell us things like hydration status, and oxygenation, and help rule out anemia and certain bleeding disorders).  A thorough oral examination can help us find dental disease (gingivitis, tooth infections, broken teeth, and oral growths).  We palpate your cat or dog’s abdomen for discomfort or changes in organ size or potential masses.  Palpating for lymph node enlargement can help us detect infections and certain cancers. Looking in your pet’s eyes help us rule out infection, cataracts, or other abnormalities.  We can check the ears for inflammation, debris, or foreign bodies (we have a lot of pets with foxtails in their ears this time of year!).  Ear infections are very common in our pets and we may obtain an ear swab to determine what is growing in there!  Examining your pet’s fur and skin helps us detect problems, such as allergies, infections, parasites, and growths (which we can often check with a simple fine needle aspirate and look at the cells under the microscope).

Considering all the things that can be found on the physical exam, it’s easy to see why the vaccinations are often considered secondary to the examination.  These results may affect our decision to vaccinate at all, or  we may elect to change vaccine schedules according to their particular issues. It is ALL about the preventative medicine! Our goal is to keep your pet healthy and happy for a very long time!