There are three words that can distinguish a Registered Veterinary Technician from a veterinarian:
There are three words that can distinguish a Registered Veterinary Technician from a veterinarian:
Heart disease is a more common problem for pets than you probably realize. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), approximately 10% of all dogs in the U.S. have heart disease, and heart disease affects 1 of every 10 cats.
Hypothyroidism is the most common hormone imbalance in dogs. Also known as thyroid disease, hypothyroidism usually occurs in canines over 5 years of age. While any breed of dog can develop this thyroid problem, breeds like Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Dachshunds are more commonly affected.
When it comes to our furry family members, we have their best interests at heart. Annual exams are the best way to keep our pets healthy and in their best shape, and along with a yearly check up comes recommended tests for every life stage.
January is Walk Your Pet Month, and the perfect time to kick off your New Year’s resolutions by heading out for some fresh air with your four legged friends! From bonding and social benefits to boosting your health and mood, daily walks are beneficial to both you and your dog.
The annual Thanksgiving and holiday feasts are delicious for us, but did you know that these special gatherings can actually be harmful to your pets? It’s tempting to spoil our furry family members with treats from the dinner table or show them some love with leftover scraps, but holiday food can make your pets seriously sick.
California’s wildfires and traveling smoke cause unhealthy air quality in our area, and weather and climate experts warn that wildfire season in the state may now be year-round. Wildfire smoke affects more than just people—the smoke can also be hazardous to pets, horses, and other wildlife. If you can see or experience the symptoms of bad air, there’s a good chance that your pet may also feel the effects.
Before you schedule an anesthesia free dental exam, the doctors at Sierra Veterinary Clinic want you to know what you are really buying. But before we talk about anesthesia free dental exams, let’s talk about where most tooth problems come from in our pets.
October is here, reminding us of National Adopt-a-Dog Month and the perfect time to welcome a furry family member into your home! Adopted pets are loyal, intelligent, and loving, and rescuing a dog is a wonderful way to give back. Whether you’re ready for your first dog or expanding your family, consider adopting your next best friend and offering a lifetime of love and care to a shelter or rescue dog.
During my first year here with Sierra Veterinary Clinic, I have learned a few things about Stockton pets. For example, many “itchy” pets have allergies more challenging to control than my own, chronic ear infections are my least favorite disease to tackle, and the requirement of a Rabies vaccination before treatment can be a surprise to our owners.
I completed my studies in Ireland where rabies is not evident; however, every person knew about Rabies and the risk it poses. While this dangerous disease is most commonly noted and shown in dogs around the world, we all forget or tend to ignore the human factor.
As a robust virus, the infection spreads via saliva and invades the central nervous system. Once the symptoms are detected, and a diagnosis of rabies is suspected, there is no known treatment and the outcome will likely be fatal. Recognizing rabies risk is often difficult to note in the United States because the most common carrier that will cross our path is a bat. A bite from a bat usually occurs overnight and is so small it will likely go unnoticed. This can be seen most dramatically as domestic and wild animals are only diagnosed once symptoms are present or after they have passed away.
Did you know that the leading health threat for your pet is obesity? With 55% of dogs and 60% of cats tipping the scales as overweight or obese, those few extra pounds can quickly pile up into a multitude of health problems. Overweight dogs and cats are prone to arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, joint and bone issues, and shorter life spans.
The sun is shining, the days are growing longer, and trees are in full bloom after a long and rainy season for the San Joaquin Valley. This spring will be a welcome relief to many of us who have endured one of the longest, wettest winters in the last 20 years. Your furry household members are also eager to get outside and enjoy the dry weather.
As your dogs and cats spend increased time outside, flea and tick care becomes critical. The lack of freeze this past winter means significantly increased flea and tick activity here in Stockton this spring. Plan to stay one step ahead and start your prevention now, before you start to see fleas and ticks on your pet—once you can see them, they’re already nesting in your home or yard.
If your pet is constantly itchy and scratching, it’s time to bring your furry family member into the clinic. Pet skin issues can be acute (temporary) or chronic (persistent), and caused by a variety of factors, including environmental allergies, flea allergies, and food allergies. Instead of just treating symptoms, it’s important to get to the root of the problem to bring your dog or cat relief.
We’re excited to announce the launch of our new automated loyalty program! Available through our free mobile app or Pet Page portal, this exciting program rewards you for every visit. We want to thank you for being a client and choosing Sierra Veterinary Clinic to provide your pet with advanced veterinary care!
Did you know that all pets are at risk for heartworm disease? Heartworm is a serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect all pets, even indoor dogs and cats. The disease is caused by heartworms, foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of affected pets. Adult heartworms can grow up to 14 inches and cause heart failure, lung disease, organ damage, and even death.
You love your pets, but unwanted fur all over the house or on your furniture can be frustrating. While hair shedding is a natural process for all dogs and cats, preventing or controlling shedding is a common concern for most pet owners.
Flu season is in full swing, and humans aren’t the only ones sick. Dogs across Northern California are coming down with the flu, and researchers from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine believe it could spread throughout the Central Valley region.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death among pets, which is why we’re committed to raising awareness about the devastating impact of pet cancer. All pets are at risk for developing cancer, and just like humans, pets can develop many different types of cancer. The good news is that with early detection and treatment, cancer is frequently treatable.
Cancer in pets
Neoplasia is the uncontrolled growth of cells or tissues in the body, and the abnormal growth is called a tumor or neoplasm. Like us, pets can develop neoplasia in almost any organ or tissue in their body. Benign (non-cancerous) tumors grow slowly, and do not invade the surrounding tissue or spread throughout the body. Malignant (cancerous) tumors grow unpredictably, and can invade the surrounding tissue or spread to other parts of the body.
November is National Diabetes Month, and we’re joining with veterinarians across the nation to focus on this disease that claims the lives of thousands of pets every year. Diabetes Mellitus (DM), commonly referred to as diabetes, is becoming increasingly common among both dogs and cats. Left untreated, the devastating disease is potentially fatal. With early detection and treatment, diabetic pets can continue to live normal, healthy lives.
If you have dogs, you understand the challenges of keeping your lawn lush and green. Lawn burn is a common issue for many dog owners, and occurs when your dog’s urine damages the lawn due to an alkaline pH, concentrated urine, and nitrogen load.
Urine pH and Nitrogen Load
Ideally, dogs should have a slightly acidic urine pH of between 6 and 6.5. If your dog’s urine pH is above 7, the higher pH will burn your lawn and could lead to struvite stones, bladder stones caused by alkaline urine. To check your pet’s urine pH at home, you can purchase pH strips and collect a urine sample from your dog in the morning. A dog’s urine pH can be reduced with a low-carb, grain-free diet.
Dogs on a very high protein diet can also produce urine that causes lawn burn. When protein is broken down, nitrogen is excreted. Higher amounts of protein lead to increased nitrogen, and a greater chance of lawn burn. If your lawn is heavily fertilized, it may be receiving near maximum levels of nitrogen already, and the additional amount of nitrogen in your dog’s urine could damage the grass.
After a warm winter with above average rainfall in San Joaquin County, Leptospirosis is a growing concern for pet owners in our area. Commonly known as Lepto, this potentially deadly disease is caused by infection with the Leptospira bacteria.
The bacteria live in soil and water, and the disease is spread when your pet comes in contact with contaminated water or urine from contaminated animals. The bacteria enters the body through the eyes, nose, mouth, or an open wound. Mice and rats can spread the disease to your pet, and it can also be passed through the placenta from a mother dog to her puppies. While dogs are most commonly affected by Lepto, the disease can affect cats and can pass from animals to people.
Leptospirosis was once confined to rural or hunting dogs, but more and more household pets are contracting the disease. Last month, three pets at the clinic tested positive for Lepto, and new data from animal experts suggests that urban dogs are just as likely to be infected as rural dogs.
Dental care is an important aspect of your pet’s overall health, and if left unchecked, dental problems can lead to other serious health issues. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, most dogs and cats are experiencing some form of dental disease by age three. Pet owners don’t always recognize the early signs of oral health issues, and dental disease is the number one undetected illness for both dogs and cats. Without effective preventive measures, the disease process will only advance with age. Routine pet dental care—both at home and in-clinic—can help your pet live a long and healthy life.
Ideally, dental wellness begins at puppyhood and kittenhood, when it’s easy to get in the habit of routine preventative care. Puppies and kittens are usually very willing to let you rub their teeth with gauze, and later introduce a finger brush or small toothbrush and enzymatic toothpaste.
In addition to regular brushing, our clinic offers a variety of dental care products to help you maintain your pet’s oral health at home. OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews clean teeth and block bacteria to help prevent plaque, calculus (tartar), and bad breath. Dental treats can help reduce plaque and tartar formation while your pet chews, and water additives are products you can add to your pet’s drinking water to freshen your pet’s breath and prevent plaque accumulation. Oral rinses, gels, and sprays all contain active ingredients that help fight plaque and bacteria.
The holidays are a great time for baking, decorating, and gift giving, but all the festivities can present some unexpected hazards for your pets, most of which wouldn't be obvious. Plants, treats, decorations, and even the busyness of the season can pose threats to your pet's health which wouldn't be an issue the rest of the year.
As you may know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We likely all know someone affected by this disease, and unfortunately, our companion animals are affected too. Mammary Gland Neoplasia is something we see in our patients here at Sierra Veterinary Clinic, and it is the most common tumor in intact female dogs. Certain breeds at increased risk include Spaniels, Pointers, Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, and Yorkshire Terriers. One of the risk factors is related to the timing of when you spay your pet, so this is also a good reason to spay early. According to the Clinical Veterinary Advisor, intact females and females spayed after two years of age have a sevenfold greater risk of mammary neoplasia compared to those spayed before age 6 months.
Halloween can be a fun time for you and your pet as long as you follow some simple pet safety tips. Unfortunately holidays are a common time for pet emergencies. On halloween in particular, pets are more likely to eat things they shouldn't and escape out of the house. Here are a few potential problems to be aware of.
Candy: This may seem obvious but you should never let your pet eat any halloween candy. Any candy containing chocolate, especially dark and bittersweet, xylitol, a sweetener, or raisins is very bad for them and can be fatal. Make sure you and your kids put all the candy in a place unreachable by your pet. Don't let them get into the wrappers either. It's likely the wrapper still has the smell and taste of candy on it and if ingested can create a blockage.
Costumes: It's fine to dress your pet in a halloween costume, you just need to make sure it's safe and comfortable for them. It needs to fit well and not be too tight or loose or impair them in any way. Supervise them while they are in costume.
Thanks for once again voting Sierra Veterinary Clinic “Best of San Joaquin” in 2016! We appreciate your ongoing support and the many relationships that we’ve built in the Stockton community. We are honored to have you all as our clients.
As Stockton’s leading full-service veterinary facility, we’ve been committed to providing the best possible routine and advanced care and services for your pets from the start. Thanks for thinking so highly of us, and for choosing our team of experienced doctors, technicians, and support staff as the best in San Joaquin County.
Are you a new client? Check out our new clients page for special offers and discounts.
Did you know that senior pets have special needs and may be faced with a new set of age-related conditions? Thanks to improved veterinary care and dietary habits, pets are now living longer than ever before. The downside to aging is the possibility of health problems and behavioral changes for your pet.
First, it’s important to understand when a pet is considered a senior. Cats and small dogs are usually considered a senior at 7 years of age. Larger breed dogs typically have shorter life spans, and are considered a senior at 6 years of age.
From nips to bites to actual attacks, dog bites are a serious problem. Even the sweetest, cutest dog can bite if provoked. Approximately 800,000 dog bite victims require medical attention in the US every year. Children are the most frequent victims of dog bites, making up half of all victims, followed by the elderly and postal carriers. Even dogs can be victims of dog bites. Fortunately, most dog bites are preventable by following some common sense tips, teaching children how to behave around dogs and training your own pet.
Keep these tips in mind If you encounter an unfamiliar dog.
Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs. Parents and caregivers should:
With the warmer weather, all of us are spending more time outside enjoying the sunshine, and that includes our pets. Unfortunately this always means we see a spike in Parvovirus infections, and this year is no different.
Parvo is a highly contagious virus that is spread through oral contact with infected feces. As disgusting as that sounds, it could be as simple as your pet walking through an area that contains infected feces, and then licking his feet afterward. Even walking through an infected area yourself can contaminate your clothing and shoes, and is often enough to infect a pet when you return home. Many scientists suspect that flies can also pick up the virus and spread it to your pet by landing on his face.
Parvo most commonly affects puppies age 3-10 months, but is also a threat to older dogs who are immunocompromised, have had an incomplete set of vaccinations, or have had no vaccinations. We also see occasional breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated animals, but this is extremely rare. Puppies are at the highest risk because their immune systems haven't had a chance to fully develop, and their vaccines haven't been completed.
You’ve probably heard of “heartworm” disease, but what do you really know about it? Heartworm is a dangerous disease and should be a genuine concern for you if you’re a dog owner. Luckily, prevention is easy and affordable.
What is Heartworm Disease?
Once considered a parasite mainly of southern climates, heartworm disease is now considered a real risk for pets in all 50 states. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 1 million dogs in the U.S. suffer with heart- worm disease today.
Heartworm is a life-threatening parasite transmitted by mosquitoes and is caused by worms that manifest themselves in your dog’s heart, lungs, and arteries. These parasites will mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring. If left untreated, their numbers can increase to several hundred worms and may grow to be 14-inch-long adults.
My dog Cooper is 4 years old. In October I noticed a few things that were not normal for him. He was shedding a lot more hair and was waking me up more at night to go outside to use the facilities. When I brought him in, I spoke to Dr. Patterson and Dr. Yao about the issues he was having they suggested that we send out a comprehensive panel with urine just to make sure everything looked the way it is supposed to. The next day Dr. Yao sat me down and told me that Cooper was in stage 1 Kidney Disease. I was upset because there’s not much you can do but to slow down the progression of the Disease by changing his diet. I knew that this was going to be a challenge. Explaining it to my daughter was hard. She was no longer allowed to sneak Cooper snacks. I explained to her that there were still foods he could have like bananas, apples, green beans and carrots. We now make Cooper banana ice cream once and a while.
Seems like lately, we have been seeing a great deal of Giardia in our puppies, kittens, dogs and cats.
Giardia is an organism that causes diarrhea in some, but not all, infected animals including humans. There are different species of Giardia, groups A-G and different groups can affect different animals and humans. For now let’s focus on our dogs and cats.
Giardia comes in two forms: A trophozoite and a cyst. A trophozoite is the mobile form of the organism that can be found in the intestines and sometimes the feces. A cyst is the resistant stage that can survive outside of the host for several months. This stage is where transmission from one host to the other occurs. Cysts survive in areas where the weather is cold and there is a good amount of moisture, like water. However, they are not able to survive in hot, dry areas.
Just like we do, our furry friends need regular wellness exams to stay their healthiest. What may seem like a simple checkup really is the foundation for preventing more serious health problems and potentially not only saving money, but your pet’s life. Here are some guidelines and tips for getting the most out of your pet’s wellness visits.
The frequency of wellness exams coincides with the different points in an animal’s life. Puppies and kittens, for example, should see a veterinarian every three weeks for exams and booster vaccinations until they are16 weeks old. Adults typically need an annual wellness exam. Seniors usually need to be seen twice a year because their health can change more quickly than younger pets.
A wellness visit typically includes a head-to-toe physical exam. It also may include a check for growths and masses on the skin; checking the underbelly and groin for tenderness or swelling; an examination of the eyes, ears and nose for obstructions; and an oral exam to look for signs of gum disease, growths or tooth issues. Routine blood work and fecal exams also will be conducted to provide a baseline for evaluating changes or trends in your pet’s health that the physical may not reveal. Other diagnostics may include testing for heartworm disease and internal parasites. To ensure a happy, healthy pet, nutrition and behavior also will be discussed.
Anyone can wash their canine or feline companions at home; but there are several advantages to professional grooming and bathing.
Groomers can bathe, comb, trim and possibly shave your companion's coat. All dogs benefit from routine bathing. It is an important way to remove dirt, oils, and dead hair; thus helping to improve the coat condition and reduce matting. For long haired dogs, this is something that should take place at least every 6-8 weeks. Bathing can also be a pivotal component in controlling allergies, and treating various skin conditions.
From time to time, our staff contribute stories about their experiences with our patients. Amy and Carol have enjoyed working with Sammy, so Amy wrote up this story about his case:
Sammy Oliver is a 12 yr old Rottweiler mix that has been using Laser Therapy to treat what ails him since he was diagnosed with a cranial cruciate ligament injury and had surgery October of 2013.
My dog Bella is 10 years old. Early in November she started limping on her front right leg. Of course, as a Vet Tech I started thinking the worst: cancer! Fortunately, after a few hours of monitoring her I realized it was probably just arthritis. She had recently had her senior checkup and lab work and all the results were normal.
I wanted to start her on something besides NSAIDs or pain medications, so I started giving her Dasuquin, a joint supplement for dogs and cats that contains glucosamine and chondroitin to promote healthy joints. After just a few days - I’m not joking - she was no longer limping when she got out of bed and was a lot more active. Her coat even had a new shine to it. I was amazed! I had always heard great things from clients about Dasuquin, but until I used it myself I did not understand how great it really is. Not only does it contain glucosamine and chondroitin, but it also has Avocado and Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASUs) which, in conjunction with glucosamine/chondroitin, have been shown to improve joint function and comfort levels.
You can help keep your senior pet moving easily and pain free with supplements like Dasuquin and Welactin, a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which helps with aging joints and brain function as well as things like coat, skin and heart health.
This Is Moe.
He is one of our awesome veterinary technician’s fur-baby. (Please don’t worry about his eye. It developed that way and it is not painful).
Here are two x-rays of his fourth premolar on the left side from a dental cleaning we did for him a couple of months ago.
Notice the large, dark hole in the fourth premolar. That is a feline resorptive lesion. Amy is not feeding Mo too many sweets because they are not caused by sugar in the diet and although they are commonly seen with plaque and gingivitis, we don’t know how they are related. The most important thing to know about them is that they are painful.
Medical term originating in Greek “Poly” pertains to many and “Dactyl” pertaining to the toes/fingers.
Polydactyl cats have more than normal amount of toes usually on the front feet but they can also be on the back feet. Normal cats have 18 toes polydactyls usually have up to 28 toes.
Questions that come up regarding our pets is why is my dog's nose cold, hot, wet or dry? Is he or she sick?
Possible reasons for a wet nose may be due to humidity. Their noses can act as a barometer and adjusts according to how much fluid is in the environment. Another reason may be that they are sweating. Ways that dogs sweat is through their paws and their noses. When their noses are dry it can also be due to the dryness in the air. Again, like a barometer. If your pet is not feeling well a dry nose may be due to a fever or dehydration.
A lot of times we think a fat cat is a happy cat but this really isn't true. Obesity can make our pets more susceptible to several diseases. Some of these diseases include diabetes mellitus, hepatic lipidosis, dermatologic conditions, and pain from osteoarthritis. Hepatic lipidosis and diabetes are the scariest diseases but the extra pain from having too much weight on old joints is a problem that obese pets have to suffer from everyday of their life.
I tell people to get their cat to lose weight all the time but I have an obese cat at home who I love very much. So in honor of pet obesity day on October 7th, I have committed to getting my obese senior to lose weight.
There are kits and plans that are made in times of fire, earthquake, or emergency situations for people, but what about our pets? Here are some tips:
A collar and I.D. with your pets name, address and cell phone number will help return your pet faster. If the collar comes off and is destroyed, microchipping can increase the chances of finding your pet.
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.
Heartworm is a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is an issue in our area, and indoor pets are also at risk. Prevention of this condition is easy and inexpensive, especially when you compare it to the expense of trying to treat the disease, the pain it causes your pet, and often the heartbreak of losing your pet.
In cats there is no treatment, and 1-2 worms can result in death. For canines, the treatment involves using a medication that is a form of arsenic. The treatment process itself has risks and is expensive; the exact therapy process and risk is dependant upon your pet's stage of illness.
They're our best friends, but our pets sometimes carry some nasty bugs that can make us sick too. Zoonotic diseases, or zoonoses, are infections or conditions that can be passed from animals to humans. While most pets pose minimal zoonotic risk to their owners, the risk is higher for those who have weakened immune systems, the elderly, or pregnant women.
The most common conditions carried by our pets are intestinal parasites such as Salmonellosis, Giardia, or Cryptosporidium; skin conditions like scabies; or worms, including Ringworm, Hookworm, and Roundworms. More serious conditions such as Rabies and Lyme disease can also be passed to humans in certain cases.
The weather has warmed up, and both you and your pets are probably spending more time outside. The warmer weather also increases exposure to fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other parasites, which can cause problems ranging from annoying itching, all the way to potentially fatal conditions like Heartworm.
This spring promises to be even worse than normal due to the mild winter and early warm weather. We're already seeing an unusually high number of cases relating to fleas and ticks coming into the clinic.
Help us collect donations for pets who are awaiting adoption through Animal Friends Connection. They're constantly in need of basic supplies to help care for the animals in the shelter, and this month if you donate one of the items listed below and drop it off at Sierra Vet Clinic, we'll thank you with a voucher good for $5 off any product or service we offer.
We're all likely to put on a few extra pounds this Christmas season, but remember that the treats you love aren't so good for your pet. Don't worry though - we've got a recipe here for dog biscuits that is healthy for your pet and veterinarian approved!