Sierra Veterinary Clinic: Pet Blog

Tips on caring for your pets from the Veterinarians and staff of Sierra Veterinary Clinic in Stockton, California.

Is your pet in pain?

We are all getting older, and that includes your pets. As pets and people age, those nagging aches and pains seem to get worse and worse. There are many factors which can contribute to joint pain in your pet, including lack of physical exercise, poor diet, weight control, and some medications. As we deal with this cold winter weather, joint pain which may normally be manageable can be magnified, to the point where it begins affecting your pet's daily life.

Symptoms of your pet's pain can be easy or difficult to identify. Obvious symptoms include lethargy, stiffness, limping, or reluctance to move. Other behaviors which indicate your much your pet might be suffering include aggressive or defensive reactions when touched, unusual barking for no reason, or uncharacteristic hiding.

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Simple and Inexpensive Pet Tips

There are several simple and inexpensive things that pet owners can do to extend a dog or cat's life.

Brush you pet's teeth routinely. A toothbrush and a pet friendly tooth paste costs less than $15. It is best to start this practice when your dog or cat is young. It is a wonderful way to help prevent the build up of plaque on your companion's teeth and reduce periodontal disease. Dental disease is the number one undetected illness for both dogs and cats. Infection in the mouth is not only painful but can also lead to illness elsewhere in the body. This routine effort is great for you buddy's comfort and longevity. It will also save you money by resulting in less involved and potentially less frequent dental cleanings.

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Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in pets can be easily missed

Osteoarthritis is the progressive and permanent deterioration of joint cartilage. This can happen over time with age, and/or may be secondary to underlying congenial bone or joint abnormalities. It develops slowly in both older dogs and cats; symptoms can be easily missed, especially in the earlier stages. Large breed canines (dogs weighing over 50 lbs.) tend to have more severe problems.

Problems can start with difficulty or a delay in getting up and down. Dogs or cats may not jump on and off of furniture with the same ease as in the past. Over time muscle loss can take place along the back legs, front legs, or along spine. Limping at a walk or run can happen occasionally or frequently. Difficulty posturing to have a bowel movement is also fairly common. Pets may not want to be as active as in the past: less likely to play fetch, or go on long walks. On examination, there is generally some degree of tenderness at the hips, shoulders, elbows, knees, and/or along the back. Colder weather does seem to aggravate this condition.

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Cat Scratch Fever

Cat scratch disease is an illness that affects people, cats, dogs, and other wildlife. This syndrome was first identified in the 1950’s. People often experience fever, low energy, skin papules, and lymph node enlargement with the potential for much more advanced illness. In the United States the incidence is about 9.3 cases per 100,000 people annually-Jackson et all 1993. It is transmitted to humans from infected cat scratches and bites. A causative agent, Rochalimaea henselae was not identified until 1992; and the following year it was reclassified as Bartonella henselae a gram-negative bacteria. Since then, additional types of Bartonella that cause infections in people have also been identified.

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What is diabetes, and how does it harm my pet?

November is National Diabetes Month, and along with veterinarians across the nation, we're focusing on this disease that claims the lives of many thousands of pets every year.

Unfortunately Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is becoming more and more common among both dogs and cats. Left untreated, this condition is fatal. However with proper treatment and careful management, pets who suffer from this disease can continue to live normal, healthy lives.

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Ever wondered how old your pet really is?

You've probably heard the formula: multiply your pet's age by 7 to come up with their human equivalent age. While this simple formula is a reasonable estimation, your pet's equivalent age is actually affected by many other factors, including species, breed, and weight.

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Summertime Safety Tips for your Pet

Summertime is upon us, and throughout Northern California people are venturing outside for some fun in the sun. Pets are great companions on our outdoor adventures, provided some basic safety tips are observed. 

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Dr. Damron's support of the Stockton City Animal Shelter

I have been volunteering at the Stockton City/County Animal Shelter as a member of the Animal Protection League for the past several years. I have dedicated my life to saving the lives of dogs and cats; and I feel that time spent here directly translates to fewer animals being euthanized in our community.

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Ringworm in Animals

Ringworm or dermatophytosis is not a worm but a fungus that can infect skin, hair, and nails; it can affect both animals and people. It appears in dogs and cats as areas of hair loss with or without a red ring in the center. Generally the lesions occur on the head, ears, or front legs; but can be anywhere on the body. It is also possible for a pet to be a carrier for ringworm, meaning they do not show any symptoms but are still shedding spores and can spread illness to others. This is most common in longhaired exotic cats. Animals contract ringworm via contact with other infected animals, carrier animals, or from the environment. The spores are very tough, and can survive on surfaces for a year. Young, geriatric, and immuno-compromised pets are the most susceptible. There are several species of dermatopytes; but Microsporum canis is the most common to infect dogs and cats. Generally patients that are infected are not itchy; and the incubation time from contact to symptoms is 10-12 days.

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What you should know about Roundworms and Hookworms

If you have a pet, you may have heard of Roundworms and Hookworms. These are intestinal parasites that many pets are born with, and some contract after birth through contact with infected feces or other surfaces in parks, playgrounds, or even your backyard.

Both Hookworm and Roundworms are zoonotic parasites, meaning that they are easily passed from pets to humans, most often to children. Children seem to be more vulnerable than adults since they often play on the ground and sometimes place dirty objects into their mouths. The parasites are usually passed between species as eggs, which hatch into larvae and then begin to move throughout the body.

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Modern treatments in ear care are helping to speed healing and reduce the need for ear canal surgery

Ear infections are very common in dogs. Typical symptoms include but are not limited to head shaking, scratching, swelling or closure of the ear canal, discharge, odor, inflammation at the ear flap, and formation of a hematoma or fluid filling in between the two layers of the ear flap.

Many different things can trigger ear infections. Allergies are a common predisposing issue. The lining of the ear canal is just an extension of the skin. So anything that causes skin inflammation can result in an ear infection. Certain activities such as swimming can predispose a patient to ear maladies.

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Routine health exams are critical to pet wellness

Physical examinations are recommended at least annually for pets less than 7 years of age, and twice a year for seniors. We at Sierra Veterinary clinic want to play a central role in maximizing the quality and quantity of years for your cherished companions; and are pleased that you have chosen us as your pet care provider.

A through head to tail evaluation can help to identify issues early on, giving a better chance for a positive outcome. Factors such as diet, dental care, body condition, mobility, heart health, preventative care, and others are all essential facets of wellness for your canines and felines, and should be routinely discussed. Additional lab work may be recommended depending on your pet’s age or condition.

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Chewing on an electrical cord can be life threatening to a dog or a cat

Generally this happens in young animals, and occurs more commonly with canines. It is seen more frequently around the holiday time with decoration lights; but can occur at any time that a pet has access to an electrical cord.

It can result in a wide range of problems. Locally there can be direct trauma to the tissues of the mouth, especially the tongue and lips. The duration of chewing time will affect the severity of damage.

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Simple things to keep your pet healthy and happy in the New Year and for years to come

Keep current identification information on your pet. It can save his or her life. We routinely have lost dogs or cats brought into the clinic. Most of them do not have collars with current contact information or microchips. Visible identification is the easiest way for someone to return your pet if found. Microchips are magnificent because unlike collars, they don’t fall off. Please remember to update the information with the microchip company when you move.

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2013 Year In Review Photo Gallery

We're almost done with 2013, and as we look back, it's been an exciting year! Many changes, accomplishments, and lots of fun times. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Colin passed his boards to earn his RVT certification!
  • Lynda got married!
  • Dianna, Dr. Goulet, and former staff member Amanda all welcomed new babies (and Amanda had twins)!
  • We've hired two military veterans, Colette and Tom!
  • Lynda, Marcy and Jenee participated in a CrossFit competition!
  • We were awarded Best of San Joaquin once again!
  • Dr. Goulet is back full-time!
  • Dr. Damron has continued writing for the Record and continues her involvment with Barkleyville and other community organizations!
  • Dr. Patterson has taken over ear crops for Dr. Luckars and is training and mentoring the other Doctors on our new Laser Therapy!
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Canine Wellness Depends on Routine Health Care

Routine preventative health care is important at every stage of life for the overall wellness of your dog. Sierra Veterinary Clinic can play a pivotal role guiding you in the healthcare decisions you make for your canine. A good wellness program will help to extend both the quality and duration of your companion's life, giving you many great years together.

Puppies need a high level of monitoring and care as they have a very minimally developed immune system, and continuously explore their world with their mouths.

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Taming Feline Aggression

Cats can show aggression towards their owners for many different reasons and in different situations. It is a very common behavior problem, only second to soiling issues. Felines can use their teeth as well as their claws to attack. This can result in serious wounds, spread disease, and can lead to an owner choosing to euthanize. This column will discuss the most common scenarios and give techniques to resolve these problems.

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Dental disease affects more than your pets teeth

Dental disease is the most common yet ignored and undetected disease affecting both canines and felines today.

Why is this the case? People don’t like to or are not able to look inside their canine or feline’s mouth. It is not pleasant to evaluate the teeth and gums, and can be difficult as well as dangerous depending on your pet’s temperament. Animals don’t like this either. Unless a pet owner is diligent from an early age, it can be challenging to start brushing a dog or cat’s teeth once that pet is older. Because we don’t see what the teeth look like it is easy to ignore dental disease in the earlier stages. Animals are also very good at hiding pain and are survivors; therefore, they may not show symptoms of dental pathology until it is very advanced. I see patients on a daily basis that have had teeth fall out of their mouth due to rotting, and yet these animals are still eating dry food and have good energy. People are also worried about cleanings that are performed under anesthesia.

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Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Allergies occur in animals just like in people, but are more common in dogs than cats. People’s symptoms often involve congestion and sneezing, which can occur in canines and felines as well. However, animals more typically present with symptoms affecting the skin and ears. I routinely see skin problems on a daily basis that are allergy related, especially in the Spring and Summer months.

Symptoms can occur year round or seasonally depending on the underlying trigger(s). At the skin, pet owners may notice many different things including hair loss, moisture, inflammation, bumps, scabs, and others. Pets often will scratch, lick, and chew at many locations of the body. At the ears there can be inflammation, closing down of the canals, odor, discharge, and head shaking. The ears are really just an extension of the skin.

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How to ease the stress of moving for your pets

Moving is stressful for everyone, even your four legged friends. They do not like the noise, packing of items, and transporting furniture out of the house. In addition to the commotion, they are also sense your emotions. They are keenly aware of your trepidations.

On the actual moving day, and the surrounding days, you may want to board your companions or keep them with a friend. This will not only help to keep them calmer; but also you won’t have to worry about them escaping or being injured with furniture being moved around. If you can’t do this, keep them in a spare bathroom or other quiet location that they can’t escape from.

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Chinese Herbs in Veterinary Medicine

Chinese herbs have been used in people for centuries. They are now more available for use in animals as part of alternative medical treatments. The term herb is actually a misnomer, as not all of the therapies are plant based, some are from animals, and some are minerals. At one time human materials such as teeth, nails, or bodily fluids were utilized; but this is no longer commonly done. Herbal medicine can be used in combination with other alternative treatments such as acupuncture, or used alongside modern Western medicine. Many types of illness and symptoms can be treated with this modality of care including organ disease, cancer, paralysis, seizures, allergies, and others.

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Microchipping can help a lost pet return home

A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted between your pet's shoulder blades. The microchip contains a unique identifier code which is linked to your information in a national database. In the event that your pet is separated from you, the microchip can be read by any veterinarian or animal shelter. Inputting the ID code into the owner database allows them to contact you so that you and your pet can be reunited.

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Keep your pet safe and calm through Independence Day fireworks

As we celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we're sure to have plenty of fireworks in the area, both the "Safe and Sane" variety as well as the louder and more dangerous illegal types. For pets who are unaccustomed to loud noises, the constant barrage of noise and flashing lights can create a frightening and stressful situation. Fortunately there are some things you can do to help your pet cope.

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Integrating Acupuncture and Electricity into Veterinary Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine has been in practice for over 4000 years, and it is now being utilized more frequency in veterinary medicine.  Its strength is that it can help treat medical problems without the harmful side effects that are associated with some of the medications used in Western medicine.  However, Chinese medicine cannot fix structural problems such as a broken back or ligament; it can just help the patient cope better with the secondary complications related to the mechanical issue. 

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Don't Let Constipation Become a Problem for Your Cat

Constipation in cats can be a fairly common occurrence.  This is not a pleasant thing to think about; but it is a necessary topic because problems in this process can significantly affect the health and quality of life for your feline.   Most healthy cats expel material from their colon 1-2 times a day.  Others may have a less frequent bowel movement cycles, predisposing them to constipation.  The longer material sits in the colon, the more likely it is to become hard, dry, and difficult to pass.  The process of expelling firm debris can cause straining, and can be a painful process for these pets.

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The Art of Dancing with your Dog

Agility is many things.  It is not only a great way for you and your canine to exercise together; but it is also a wonderful way to spend quality time together.  To excel in this activity, you must form a synchronized team with your companion.  It becomes a dance between the two of you.   

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More cases of parvovirus than normal

Puppy infected with Parvo

Canine parvovirus is a serious, deadly virus that attacks the intestinal tract of dogs. Normally contracted through exposure to an infected dog's feces, the virus is extremely hardy and can survive extreme temperatures and direct exposure to sunlight. A surface exposed to infected feces can remain contaminated long after the feces are removed, and the virus can even be carried on shoes and clothing.

Puppies are the most likely to contract the parvovirus. Certain breeds are more susceptible (Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, and Pit Bulls), but all dogs are at risk. Cats rarely contract the virus. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea (often with blood), loss of appetite, fever or low body temperature, and depression.

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Don’t let your pet get into a sticky situation with Gorilla Glue

Curious dogs can be harmed by Gorilla Glue

Gorilla Glue toxicity is a very serious problem, and can rapidly end your companion’s life. Many people are not aware that this common household item could pose a health risk for their pets.

Gorilla Glue is a polyurethane material that is activated with moisture. Diphenylmethane Diisocyanate (MDI) is the active ingredient. When triggered, the foaming action allows this product to expand as needed to fill empty space as it cures. This is wonderful if you are using it for the intended purpose of holding items together; however, the results are hugely detrimental when Gorilla Glue is accidentally ingested by a curious canine.

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Heartworm prevention for your dog and cat is now more critical than ever

Heartworm infection in pet heart

The past few years we have seen a rise is this terrible disease in our area. Last year our clinic identified 9 new cases, and so far this year we have already diagnosed 5. This is significant when you consider that 10 years ago we might find a case each year or every other year, and mainly in animals that traveled outside the area. Now it is happening with patients that have lived here their entire lives. 2 of the patients that were diagnosed so far this year have been on prevention during this year; but missed some months.

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Skunks can be a serious health threat to your pets

Most people can recognize when a pet has been skunked just from the horrific pungent odor that enters the room before they do. What many do not realize is that skunks can cause many health problems for both canines and felines.

Rabies is a potential danger. All mammals can contract Rabies if bitten by a rabid animal, or through open wounds that have contact with the saliva or brain tissue from an infected animal. This is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can result in death. It is a concern for both animals and people.

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Price comparisons for veterinary services can be misleading

In these challenging economic times, pet owners want to maximize the value for the medical dollars that they spend. However, if you don’t know how different veterinary hospitals are organized, you may be comparing apples to oranges when you price shop. In addition, you could be placing the health of your cherished companion at risk without even realizing it.

A spay or ovariohysterectomy surgery is considered common practice in the veterinary field. Traditionally, this surgery involves removing the ovaries and uterus in a female dog or cat. This procedure has multiple health benefits that range from reducing the risk of cancer and infection, decreasing aggression/fighting, decreasing roaming, to helping reduce pet overpopulation.

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Make spending more time with your pet your new year’s resolution

No matter what type of companion that you have, canine, feline, or other; he or she can only benefit from time spent together, and so can you. It has been known for several years that interaction with animals can help to lower blood pressure, decrease stress, decrease cholesterol, strengthen immunity, decrease loneliness, provide support during difficult times, and are a source of unconditional love. Your buddy’s quality of life will also improve from the interaction.

There are many activities that you can participate in with your cherished companion with little to know stress on your wallet.

Take a walk with your canine. This exercise can help both of you be fit in the New Year. Some felines also enjoy walking on a leash or with a harness. Start out with a short distance of a half of a block, and work up from their. If your buddy is over the age of 5, make sure he or she is in good physical health before doing this. For those that are more athletic, you may consider running or biking with your dog.

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Veterinary technicians and assistants provide essential care

Veterinary technicians and assistants provide essential patient care. They are pivotal in all aspects of animal care, and make it possible for veterinarians to treat multiple patients as once, and/or see many patients for exams conducting all types of treatments. I rely on them daily in the care for my patients. Technicians draw blood for laboratory tests, take radiographs, place intravenous catheters, start iv fluids, give medications, clean wounds, place bandages, place splints, prepare surgical sites, recover patients after surgery, assist with dental cleanings, monitor vitals, monitor patients under anesthesia, administer CPR, provide nursing care, keep patients calm and comfortable, give love to the animals, and many more tasks to numerous to list.

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When you should consider getting a second opinion

This is a dilemma that many pet owners face. Unfortunately there is no clear cut answer. Instead, I will offer some guidelines for different scenarios. This may involve some difficult discussions with your veterinarian. Remember that you are the best advocate for your canine or feline.

If there is minimal improvement within a reasonable amount of time. Depending on the comfort level of your companion, the nature of the health issue, and the severity of the problem, this time period can range from 7 days to 60 days.

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Laser Therapy Success Story!

This is a testimonial sent to us by one of our clients, explaining how our new Cold Laser Therapy system has helped her pet. If you have questions about whether your pet might benefit from this therapy, please call us!

I have a French Bulldog Lola that is the love of my life. One evening she could barely walk and had severe muscle twitches. The next morning I took her to her vet and after examination he thought it was a neurological problem and recommended I take her to UCD as they have a neurology dept. I called made appt. and off to Davis we went. After exam (extensive) they said multiple tests needed and most likely surgery. The cost was estimated at 5000.00. Being a senior on a fixed income there was no way I had that kind of money. Their only other alternative was 4-6 weeks total cage rest and pain meds. Her diagnosis being bulging neck disc. She was put on rimadyl, tramadol and methocarbinol.

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Keep your pet safe from holiday hazards

There are several items associated with this time of year that can pose a threat to your cherished companion. Here are some potential concerns.

The Christmas tree can be a danger in several ways. The sharp needles if ingested can irritate the intestinal tract. Tinsel is also an irritant. Both these items can cause stomach upset or blockages if ingested in large quantities. The lights can be a source of electrocution if the cord is chewed on. Small ornaments can be ingested. Glass ornaments can cause damage to the mouth and intestine if broken or eaten. Some of them also give off a toxic chemical when heated that can be damaging to the eyes, skin, respiratory tract, and kidneys. The tree water preserves can be toxic. The presents can also be a problem if there is a lot of ribbon used on them.

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Cats can also fall victim to the “common cold”

Many cats experiences an upper respiratory infection (URI) at some time during their lifetime. This term is a group name for several subtypes of infections that can be viral or bacterial. Unlike in people, this “common cold” like experience can happen at any time of the year. Symptoms include but are not limited to nasal discharge, eye discharge, inflammation of the tissue around the eyes, sneezing, coughing, congestion, low appetite, low energy, and mild fever. In most cases this illness doesn’t spread to the lungs to cause pneumonia; but it is possible.

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Identifying your pet is essential for safety

Over 10 million pets are lost annually according to the ASPCA. Most pet owners believe that nothing will happen to their cherished companion that will cause them to escape the boundaries of their domain. However, this is a fallacy. Fences can be broken in storms, car accidents, etc. Other hazards such as fires or earthquakes can damage the structural integrity of your home. Even floods are possible in our area.

In the past 2 weeks, 8 patients have been brought to our clinic that didn't have a collar or a microchip. We were only able to find the owners for some of them.

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Share some joy and love this holiday season with animals in need

I encourage everyone that is able to volunteer time, donate items/funds, consider fostering, or adopt a pet from one of our wonderful local animal rescue groups this holiday season. There are a wide variety of pure and mix-breed loving animals looking for a home. Pet items that are slightly used can find new life in the hands of several local animal rescue organizations. Some facilities can benefit from donations of food. Many facilities are looking for people to walk dogs, socialize pets, groom them, clean equipment, etc.

The Animal Protection League takes animals directly out of our local animal shelter in Stockton, spays and neuters them, and finds them homes. If not for this group’s tireless efforts, these dogs and cats would be euthanized. I personally volunteer with this organization doing spay/neuter surgeries on the weekend. They take animals to various locations for adoptions, and also have a facility located at 7602 Murray Drive, Suite 106 Stockton CA. Check out their website www.apl209.org or follow them on Facebook. (209) 956-DOGS

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Almost any pet can benefit from cold laser therapy

Laser therapy is a non-invasive way to speed healing in your companion for both chronic and acute conditions. This treatment has been used in people for the past 40 years to speed injury recovery. Now it is available for animals, using the same quality grade of equipment (Class 4).

Cold laser therapy is a way to decrease inflammation, reduce pain, stimulate nerve regeneration, and stimulate circulation without using medication or surgery. It also can be used in conjunction with other modalities. The treatment works by using light to penetrate into the deep tissues.

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Preventing Pet Emergencies

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What to do in a pet emergency

In my last column, I discussed several things that you can do to help avoid or minimize an emergency situation for your cherished companion. If you missed this column, you can find it {ln:Preventing Pet Emergencies 'here on our website}.

This column is part 2 on pet emergencies, and will highlight what to do when a problem occurs. The actions you take in the first few minutes to hours can prevent serious illness, and even potentially save the life of your cherished companion.

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Advances in Veterinary Medicine

As pets are becoming more and more a part of the family, veterinary medical advances are enabling the level of care to parallel and even in some cases surpass that of human medicine. This is driven by the human animal bond. Pet caregivers often have pictures of their cherished companions on their phones, are housing them indoors, and even welcoming them in their beds. It only makes sense that they would demand a higher level of care, and want their canines and felines to live as long as possible.

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What to do after a dog fight, and some prevention tips

This past week I treated 6 patients for dog fights, and this doesn't include those that my associates worked with. I don't know if the warmer weather is creating tension amongst the canines; but this is a very high number of incidences. This column covers what to do when a dog attack happens to your companion to increase the chance of a full recovery; and provides guidelines to help protect your cherished companions from such confrontations.

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Common eye problems in pets and what is an emergency

Growths around the eye on the eyelid and surrounding tissue often do not pose a serious threat to you companion. Most commonly they are caused by cysts of the Meibomian glands that secrete lubrication to the eye, or are warts. Even when they touch the surface of the eye, the cornea, they may not need to be removed if they are not causing trauma or significant discomfort. Swelling or infection of the gland of the third eyelid, commonly called a Cherry eye is significant. It seldomly responds to topical therapy, and usually requires a surgical repair.

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Unwanted Pet Behaviors

Our dogs and cats do things as puppies and kittens that we think are cute at the time; but that we may not necessarily want them to do as adult members of the household. Unfortunately, each excited or even remotely positive reaction that we give just feeds into a pet’s natural drive to seek attention and/or please his/her caregiver. Some of these actions have minimal long term effects; but some can create serious problems over time. For some households, the same behavior may be perceived in a wide range from benign to extremely serious. I am going to cover a few of the common behaviors that we may be encouraging.

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Protect your dog from Rattlesnakes

As the temperature rises, the climate is perfect for Rattlesnakes to come out; and they are active from March through September. This year it is expected that many more snakes will be out and about due to our unusually weather patterns this year and last year. For people that take their canines camping, hiking, and/or hunting in the areas surrounding Stockton, both they and their buddies are at a significant risk for a snake encounter.

Rattlesnake bites commonly occur on in animals on the legs or face. The level of toxicity depends on the age and type of the snake, as well as the size of the dog. In 20-25% of bites, no venom is injected. 30% of bites are mild and only cause local inflammation and pain with no systemic effects. 40% of bites are severe and cause systemic problems. And 5% are fatal.

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Intervertebral disc disease in animals

Any dog can develop intervertebral disc disease. In between each back bone there is a soft material that cushions the space between each vertebra, allowing for movement, and preventing the bones from rubbing against each other. As the body ages, the pad of fibrocartilage tissue becomes much harder, making the disc more prone to rupture.

Some dog breeds, especially Dachshunds, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Pekingeses, and Doberman Pinchers are prone to this problem. The discs in the Dachshund age prematurely due to water loss, cellular necrosis, and calcification. As a result, making the material becomes more brittle and prone to breaking apart. When material oozes out of the discs, it can put pressure on the spinal cord causing a wide range of problems from limited activity, stiffness, pain, hunched back, crying out, inability to urinate or defecate, paresis-partial loss of movement, to paralysis-loss of muscle function, full loss of movement. This problem also occurs in felines; but is much less common.

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Heartworm shouldn't be ignored

Autopsy of heart infected with heartworm

Canines and felines are now more at risk for Heartworm than ever before. The recent change in rainfall patterns has allowed mosquitoes to flourish in our area. On average Sierra Veterinary clinic diagnoses 6-7 cases of canine Heartworm per year. It is only May, and we have already identified this deadly disease in 5 dogs. In the past, many of the pets had traveled outside of California; now most of the patients are just local inhabitants. Please protect your cherished companions with routine preventatives.

Heart-worm is a deadly disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Even indoor pets can be exposed to mosquitoes, and it only takes one bite by an infected mosquito to create a problem.

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Draft horses can do a lot more than pull carts

Draft horses can do a lot more than pull carts or heavy equipment. With practice, they can be just as agile as other horses for trail riding, dressage, and other equine activities. A local Draft Horse Quadrille Drill Team has been recently formed. This group was co-founded by Anita Dayton, the owner/trainer of K.I.S.S. Horse Center home to the rescue group Hope for Horses in Galt, CA; and Rebecca Brackney owner of Brackney Pet Services and photography studios in Rio Linda, CA.

Last October I wrote a pet column that featured Anita Dayton, a long time equestrian, trainer, horse rescuer, and owner of K.I.S.S. Horse Center. She is now in the process of creating a non-profit called Hope for Horses. This group is dedicated to caring for and rehoming horses in need.

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