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Healthy Pets in 2018 and Beyond: New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet

Do you remember your New Year’s resolutions from last year? That would be your 2017 resolutions? We hear crickets. It’s not uncommon for New Year’s resolutions to fall by the wayside come February, even though we want to eat better, exercise more, and take more time to enjoy life, friends, and family.

This year, why not keep those good intentions alive throughout 2018 by including your pets in some of your resolutions? The team at Pet Medical Center put our heads together and came up with a short list of ideas for New Year’s resolutions for your pet.

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It’s That Time Again! Pet Medical Center & Spa’s Top 5 Blogs of 2017

It continues to be our honor to serve the families of Fresno, and we hope you’ve been pleased with our care in the past year. Not only is Pet Medical Center and Spa happy to offer affordable wellness plans designed specifically for each pet, but we also have access to veterinary specialists who provide advanced care when it’s most critical. Along with annual or twice-yearly appointments, we also aim to share information via our pet care blog. We hope this keeps owners up to speed regarding important seasonal dangers and prevents any unfortunate circumstances throughout the year.

Whenever a blog is viewed, clicked on, shared, or sent to friends and family, we use that as a way to gauge which topics hit home. To that end, we’ve collected the top 5 pet care blogs of 2017…

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An Owner’s Guide to Pet Urinary Tract Infections

pet urinary tract infectionsYou suddenly notice that your normally very housebroken dog is having accidents in your living room. She is asking to go outside constantly and seems to be drinking a lot.

This not-uncommon scenario strikes panic into the heart of many a pet owner. There are multiple things that might cause these symptoms, but not to worry. Pet Medical Center & Spa is here to help, and thankfully pet urinary tract infections are no match for our expert team.

Noticing Pet Urinary Tract Infections

The body is typically very good about keeping unwelcome bacteria out of places it does not belong. Sometimes, though, bacteria are able to make their way up into the bladder.

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Canine Influenza – What You Need To Know For The Central Valley

Pet Parent Bulletin

Recently there has been a case of canine influenza diagnosed in Southern California. While we have not seen any cases in Fresno County, our hospital is recommending that you take precautions and vaccinate your pet against H3N2 and H3N8 prior to any potential outbreak occurrence in our area. PMC may choose to require the Bivalent Flu Vaccine for daycare and boarding pets in the near future.  Since we do not know which of the strains will/may become an issue, it is strongly recommended that your pet be vaccinated with the Bivalent vaccine which includes both strains (H3N2 & H3N8).

Canine Influenza Info

More links here from reputable sources:

AVMA

CDC

Outbreak Map

CVMA

Public Health LA County

 

Can My Pet Get Sick While in Day Care or Boarding?

Our goal at Pet Medical Center is to provide a safe & hygienic environment for your pet. We rigorously disinfect all play areas, kennels, toys, bowls and even our outdoor potty area multiple times daily to minimize transmission of illness & disease. With that said however, anytime you have a group of dogs housed together, it is possible to spread communicable diseases. Think of our facility as a children’s pre-school or daycare. Children frequently pass around germs and your child can come home with a cold or a virus. The same holds true for pets.

Day Care and Boarding are communal environments and there is always a chance that a visibly healthy pet is harboring an underlying, undiagnosed illness that could be transmissible to your pet. Pet Medical Center requires that all pets be up to date on Rabies, Distemper-Parvo and Bordetella vaccines and that pets be FLEA FREE. However even with these precautions, there are other dangers that lurk in communal dog environments (daycare, dog parks, dog training class, pet stores and even greeting another pet on a walk). Some things that “healthy” dogs can be harboring that are transmissible are giardia, intestinal parasites, papillomas, canine flu and even to the extreme of bordetella and parvo in fully vaccinated dogs.

Requiring vaccines, keeping incoming pets FLEA FREE and an extreme disinfection regimen are what we do at PMC to provide a safe place for your pet. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to provide a playgroup in a bubble, so when enrolling your pet in doggie day care or any pet activity, you should be aware that there is always risk. Please contact our veterinary staff if you would like more information on any of these transmissible illnesses.

For more Daycare and Boarding Q&A, check out our Services Section at www.petmedcenterfresno.com!

Parvo and Your Pup

parvoHearing that your precious pet has been diagnosed with a serious disease is the last thing a pet owner wants to hear. Parvo (canine parvovirus) is one such disease that affects puppies and adult dogs, and its consequences can be lasting and, in some cases, deadly. Indeed, your dog’s long-term wellness depends on his or her protection from parvo and other contagious diseases.

The Problem with Parvo

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that is spread either through contact with an infected dog or with a contaminated object, such as feces, food or water bowls, leashes, etc.. The virus infects the stomach and small intestine, where it destroys cells, impairs nutrient absorption, and interferes with the gut/blood barrier. Parvo can strike at any time of the year, but is most common during the spring and summer months.

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True Innovation: Why AAHA Accreditation Means so Much

aaha In life, it’s helpful to periodically evaluate the way things are done and try to make positive changes. In a veterinary hospital, streamlining certain systems and protocols not only saves us time and money, we also pass that value onto our clients and their pets. In other words, there is always room for improvement, and that’s what it means to be AAHA accredited.

The Gold Standard

The American Animal Hospital Association was established in 1933 by veterinary professionals inspired by a collective endorsement of specific values and excellent standards. Only a small percentage of animal hospitals are recognized as AAHA accredited, and the animal patients here are more likely to receive the best possible care in a cutting-edge facility.

How to Measure Success

The American Animal Hospital Association conducts veterinary research and publishes the results for hospitals under their purview. As an accredited hospital, our experience and education is continually advancing through our alliance.

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Pet Paw Care Tips that Will Earn You a High Five

pet paw care tipsA list reflecting some of the reasons why you love your pet might include that cute nose, those floppy ears, the endlessly wagging tail, and of course, those irresistible paws! Some pet owners might argue with that last one, but the fact is: those amazing paws are as fit for rugged terrain as they are for high-fiving you on the sofa after a long day. In short, they are important to your pet’s overall health and well-being.

Pet paw care is a major focus as we move into summer.

Big Impact

Do your feet ever hurt after walking around on rough surfaces without memory foam inserts or reinforced soles? While animals are specially equipped to handle life without shoes, it doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from some help once in awhile.
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Don’t Fret Visit To The Vet – Guest Blogger Ali Imel RVT

Working as a registered veterinary technician in a day practice I’ve encountered hundreds of fearful dogs.   With this occupation, you must learn to understand canine body language, recognize the signs and assess the risks.  I’ve experienced it all, from subtle lip licking to submissive urination to a dog offensively baring his front teeth.   As a Certified Dog Trainer I’ve learned that visits to the vet don’t have to be a stressful experience for your dog and certainly not for you.

Start at Home

Teach your pup that being handled is a good thing. There are several areas on your dog’s body that your veterinary professional will routinely examine.  Locations such as ears, mouth and limbs will need special consideration so your dog is comfortable having them handled first by you, then by others.  You can condition a positive association with body handling by pairing it with super tasty treats.  It’s important to remember that when doing so the handling must predict the treat.   You can watch our toe nail trimming video to learn more about how to create a positive emotional response with a type of handling that a dog typically finds aversive.   You can also train a few behaviors using positive reinforcement methods that will come in handy for your upcoming visit.  You can train a “Chin Rest” (see photo) either in your palm or on your lap.  This training will cause exams of the head and blood draws become less stressful due to a reduced need for heavy restraint.  You can teach your dog to “Touch” and follow your hand. This behavior can easily be transitioned to getting your pup on and off the scale, thereby eliminating a wrestling match. It’s also helpful to train your dog to “Settle on a Mat” or small roll up rug.  Choose something that is easy to transport from a travel crate to the waiting area and to exam room table.  Having this small “piece of home” which is associated with relaxing times serves as a wonderful “security blanket” for your pooch.

Before Your Appointment

As well as making a positive association with handling it’s important to create one with the hospital as well. Taking a little extra time prior to your pup’s appointment to familiarize your pup with the hospital will pay off big.  If you have a young puppy investigate to see if your hospital offers in hospital puppy socialization classes.  Many hospitals now offer safe, fun and informative puppy classes. These classes focus on socialization with similar aged puppies, unfamiliar people, and novelty stimuli in the hospital environment. Besides being critical for normal social development these classes are something that your pup will look forward to.   If your dog is past the puppy socialization window (7 to 16 weeks) consider “Happy Visits” to the hospital.   By going to the hospital and having several good experiences and getting treats instead of shots, your pup will learn to be less stressed.  You’ll need to have several “Happy Visits” to equal one appointment, so don’t skimp on these!   If your dog is already fearful of the hospital, try requesting an appointment during a quiet time of day.  This can often be the first appointment of the morning, when the wait time is less and the foot traffic in and out of the hospital is low.  Also, if your dog has become reactive to the stimuli in the waiting area, use your cell phone and call from the parking lot to let them know you have arrived.  You can then wait in your vehicle with your dog until an exam room is ready.

It’s the Big Day

Appointment day is here!  Don’t forget to pack a “Doggie Diaper Bag” prior to your departure with an abundance of high value treats, an interactive food toy (such as a peanut butter stuffed frozen KONG) and the settle mat.  If your dog is off feed, you can bring his favorite toy or frozen low sodium chicken broth in a small container that he can lick at.   Once you arrive at the hospital remember to maintain your space.  Keep interactions with other canines and unfamiliar people to a minimum.  If possible find a quiet spot away from the busy entrance, roll out your dog’s mat and engage him in a bit of training.   Reward with tasty treats for keeping his focus on you, being able to respond to your cues and remaining calm.  If your wait time is longer than expected pull out the frozen KONG or chicken broth and keep him busy.  Once in the exam room, roll out the settle mat again but this time on the exam table and scatter several treats across it. Your pup will soon be looking forward to the treasure find on the exam table.   If the exam table is already a scary place advise your veterinarian and ask if they would be willing to perform the exam on the floor.  Most will appreciate the extra bit information and happily oblige. Dogs are masters at reading body language both canine and human so it’s important for you to take a deep breath and relax as well.  Calm movements and a soothing voice can help set the tone.  Just as you practiced in the waiting area remember to reward good behavior throughout the exam.   If all else fails and your pup is excessively nervous or becomes aggressive with veterinary personnel, you might consider speaking to your veterinarian about prescribing a mild sedative to give prior to their appointment.

After the Fact

Once back home you will likely discover your pup is worn out from the big adventure so it’s important to arrange for a little down time in a quiet spot in the house.  Remember to keep close watch on him and be on the lookout any adverse medication or vaccine reactions.

You Don’t Have to Fret

Your dog will likely require many visits to a veterinary hospital during its lifetime.   A little time preparing and making positive associations with it before, during and after those visits will reduce stress and even make it fun for the dog and a happy, friendly experience for you, the doctor and the staff.

Quarantine? A Look at the Prevention and Treatment of Kennel Cough

Funny pug dog in the dog houseWe all get sick from time to time and our dogs are no exception. Luckily, vaccinations are available to protect against many diseases. But, not all dogs are immune to kennel cough.

Responsible for the inflammation of the trachea and voice box, kennel cough is a common illness that stems from both viral and bacterial infections. This illness can come out of nowhere and is highly contagious. While it can clear up on it’s own, proper attention to kennel cough symptoms can prevent pneumonia from developing. (more…)

Scritch-Scratch: Allergies In Pets

Woman and dog running on beach at sunsetSeasonal allergy sufferers everywhere know the misery that can accompany spring and early summer; itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and various other unpleasant symptoms are an unfortunate part of life for many of us.

Humans are not the only ones who suffer the symptoms of allergies, though. Pets can also be allergic to common environmental triggers, as well as to fleas and certain foods. By paying attention to the signs that your pet may be suffering, and taking action quickly, it’s possible to get a handle on allergies in pets.

Symptoms Of Allergies In Pets

Allergies in pets typically present as skin issues and can include the following: (more…)