Tag Archives: cat

Tips for a Calmer Feline Veterinary Visit

Experts recommend that all adult pets see a veterinarian once a year for a wellness visit.  These exams allow the veterinary team to screen for medical, husbandry, and behavioral concerns on a regular basis.  This gives owners tools to help their pet live as long and as happy a life as possible, while potentially identifying early signs of illness and disease allowing for early intervention.  Unfortunately, studies have shown that many cats are not getting these visits on a regular basis. This is not because cat owners do not love their feline family members, but because they are concerned about the emotional well-being of their pets.  

Many feline owners report that their cats feel an extreme level of stress when going to the vet, which may manifest as hiding, cowering, howling, and even aggression.  As a result, many cat owners avoid veterinary visits, sometimes until their pet is very sick.

There are, however, ways to make a cat’s veterinary visit a much lower-stress experience. Working in concert with your pet’s veterinarian and staff, techniques can be employed to lower your cat’s anxiety level before, during, and after the veterinary visit.  These calming techniques begin at home, days before your scheduled appointment.

Start with the Carrier:
The choice of carrier/crate is extremely important.  You may choose a hard or soft carrier depending on your and your cat’s preference, but whichever you choose, it should have a few traits:

  • It should be big enough for your cat to lie down in while still being light enough for you to carry from the bottom
  • The carrier should have at least two openings – one at the front and one on the top
  • It should be easy to take apart so that the cat doesn’t have to be dragged out of the carrier for the exam
  • It should be sturdy, secure, and quiet

Most cats flee at the sight of the carrier because they only see it when they are being taken to the vet.  This does not need to be the case.  You can train your cat to love its carrier!  First off, do not “hide” the carrier; this will only signal your cat to flee and become stressed when you remove the crate from its hiding place.  Leave the carrier out at all times and fill it with soft bedding.  Place it in an area that the cat likes to rest and leave the door open, encouraging your cat to use it as a sanctuary.  Many cats prefer elevated surfaces, so place the carrier on a secure table or shelf off of the floor.  Play with your cat near the carrier, so it becomes part of an enjoyable environment.  You may also place favorite toys, treats, or feline calming pheromone spray (“Feliway”) to encourage your cat to go into its carrier.  If your cat is reluctant at first, take the top off or the carrier leaving only the bottom tray and the soft bedding.  Once your cat starts to use the carrier for sleep, you can put the top back on and continue to encourage your cat to use the carrier as a safe space.

Calmer Transportation:

When it comes time to take your cat to the vet, give yourself time to make it a calmer experience.  Don’t rush to shove your cat into the carrier and go.  Take the time to lure your cat into the carrier with treats or toys.  Place familiar smelling objects in the crate before transport.

Once your cat is in the carrier, cover the carrier with a familiar smelling towel and/or one infused with calming pheromone spray.  When moving the crate, carry it from the bottom, at chest height, to prevent too much movement/swinging.  

In the car, place the carrier somewhere with lower visual stimuli and little motion.  The ideal place is on the floor behind the passenger seat.  Keep the towel over the carrier on three sides so the cat has the option to look out of the carrier or hunker in a darker space.  Play quiet, calming music while driving as cats may become stimulated by loud noises, and drive calmly trying to avoid sudden starts and stops.

At the Vet*:

Working with the veterinary team, you can make your cat’s time at the veterinary clinic a calmer experience.  Leave your cat in the safe space in the car for as long as possible.  This may mean calling the reception for check in or walking to the reception desk to check in while leaving your cat in the car, weather permitting.  Once in the hospital, keep your cat’s carrier on an elevated surface facing away from the open space of the waiting room where other animals may over-stimulate your pet.  

Once in the exam room, remain quiet and calm.  Open your cat’s carrier, but do not force them to exit.  Offer tasty treats and play with toys if your cat is interested.

*If your veterinarian is currently offering curbside service, leave your cat comfortably in their secure spot in the car until the veterinary staff member comes to get them for the exam.


The Return Home

Remember that your cat may still be in a heightened state of arousal when they come home.  This may interfere with their interactions with other pets in the household.  When you come home, take the carrier to a quiet, safe space and allow your pet to leave the carrier on its own. Watch for signs of stress or aggression between pets due to behavioral changes or foreign smells on your cat.  Distract other pets with treats or play while your cat acclimates to being back home.

Other Tips and Tricks

  • Bring your cat’s favorite high-value treats along to the veterinary visit.  Encourage staff members to feed your cat if your pet is willing to eat
  • Feed your cat less that morning so they arrive to the appointment hungry and willing to take treats
  • Purchase calming pheromone spray (“Feliway”) and spray covers, blankets, your car, and yourself 15 minutes before leaving for the vet

For very stressed cats, anti-anxiety medication can make veterinary trips a much calmer experience.  Appropriate use of these medications can help your pet immensely, resulting in less fearful visits which will ultimately benefit your pet’s health by decreasing stress and allowing for more comprehensive examinations.  Talk to your veterinarian about options for your specific pet.

If your cat has significant fear issues when going to the vet, discuss these concerns with your veterinarian so that their team can devise a plan to make the visit as low-stress as possible.  This will help your pet get the wellness care it needs to help it live as long and happy a life as possible.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our hospital at (760) 736-3636.

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-736-3636
www.sanelijovet.com

Foxtails and Your Pets-Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo

This time of year, many dog owners are hitting trails to enjoy the beautiful weather with their canine friends.  Unfortunately, a fun day on the trail can turn into a painful experience for your pooch from a seemingly innocent source.

Foxtails are a frequent sight on trails, open spaces and yards in Southern California.  These invasive weeds are named for their clusters of spiked seed pods which resemble the tail of a fox.  Foxtails usually appear in our landscape in early spring.  Like the rest of San Diego county, they start out soft and green but by then end of the season they have dried to a brittle brown.

The dried, spiked clusters of the foxtail eventually break down into individual spikelets.  The pods are spiked and barbed, qualities that help them penetrate the tough San Diego ground.  Unfortunately, these qualities also allow them to wreak havoc on your pets.

Foxtails are a common emergency in veterinary medicine this time of year.  When a dog comes in contact with a foxtail, the barbs along the spikelet attach to the fur.  These barbs allow the foxail to move only one way: forward, while the sharp tip on the spikelet allows it to pierce skin or penetrate dense fur.

Foxtails will attach to almost any part of the dog that brushes against them.  Common sites of infestation are ears, eyes, nose, and between the toes.  They can also burrow beneath the skin along the body on thick coated dogs.  Occasionally veterinarians even see foxtails buried in tonsils or under the gums of dogs who enjoy chewing on these plants. 

Once embedded, these seeds rarely work their way out.  Their burrowing properties wreak havoc on infected pets and continue causing painful damage until they are removed. Veterinary intervention is usually required to treat foxtail infestation.  Sedation or surgery may be necessary, along with treatments to help with pain and infection resulting from “foreign body” invasion.

Signs of foxtails include:

A painful, infected ear

Head tilting or shaking

Acute, severe sneezing

Nasal discharge or bleeding

Squinting, painful eye

Red, painful bumps between toes or under the skin

There are some simple steps that owners can take to help their dog avoid a painful foxtail experience.  The simplest prevention is to avoid them altogether.  We find foxtails along trails, in open spaces, and in unlandscaped areas.  They are common in late spring through summer and can be identified by their bushy clusters of spikes resembling the tail of a fox. Foxtails can even be found in our yards, so carefully inspect unlandscaped areas for these invaders.
Even if you practice diligent avoidance, carefully check your pet after walks or hikes.  Common sites of infestation are between the toes, the legs, the underbelly, the eyes, and the nose.  With long coated dogs, it is a good practice to brush them out after hikes, as well.  Keeping your pet’s feet trimmed short can help prevent these dangerous hitchhikers; some owners even purchase hiking boots for their dogs to protect their feet on trail.

Dogs are not the only ones affected by foxtails.  Occasionally we see outdoor cats who have picked one up.  We most commonly see foxtails invade cats’ eyes, under their third eyelid.  Symptoms include painful swelling, redness, and discharge out of one eye.

Foxtails are not only painful but can be very damaging to your pet.  If you think your pet may be infected, contact your veterinarian immediately to prevent further pain and injury.

-Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-736-3636
www.sanelijovet.com

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 5 Year Anniversary Open House

Over the last five years, Advanced Veterinary Care has proudly served San Elijo, providing high quality, compassionate veterinary care to the pets of this wonderful community.  To commemorate our five-year anniversary, we are opening our doors to the community we gratefully serve. 

We would like to invite you to join us for our upcoming Open House. 

Join us in celebrating this milestone with music, food, refreshments, and great company. Tour the hospital, meet our doctors and staff, and have a great time while learning what sets Advanced Veterinary Care apart.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Keeping Your Pets Safe this Halloween Season 

Halloween Pet Dangers

Keeping Your Pets Safe this Halloween Season

Halloween can be a wonderful holiday for children and adults alike.  Many people love to enjoy this festive season with the entire family, including their pets.

To make sure your pet stays safe and enjoys this holiday, we offer the following advice:

Keep Those Halloween Treats Far Out of Pets’ Reach:  Halloween candies are the source of several dangers to our animal family members.  Most owners are aware that chocolate is toxic to their pets.  Chocolate contains caffeine as well as a toxin called Theobromine that in high enough doses can be very toxic to our animal companions.  Toxicity is based on the amount of cocoa ingested (dark chocolate contains more) vs. the weight of the pet.

“Healthier” Halloween treats may contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol which is extremely toxic to dogs.  Ingestion is a veterinary emergency and can even be fatal to our canine friends.

Overindulgence in candy (or other holiday treats), even those that don’t contain chocolate or xylitol can cause gastric upset or even a dangerous condition called pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).  These can be serious enough to warrant a trip to the veterinary clinic or even a hospital stay!

Finally, candy wrappers also pose a risk to indulgent pets.  Most pets don’t bother to unwrap the candy that they sneak off with.  Ingested wrappers can be very irritating to the intestinal tract and in some cases could even result in an intestinal blockage.  Note that even empty candy wrappers are attractive to our pets as they still smell like the treats they once contained.

Beware of Raisins and Grapes: While raisins make for a sweet, healthy alternative to Halloween candies, they can be very dangerous to our pets.  Grapes and raisins are poisonous to many dogs (and potentially cats).  Toxicity can be severe enough to cause kidney damage or even death in some cases.  Experts are still not sure how much grape material is required for toxicity or why some pets react more profoundly than others, so all grape/raisin ingestion is considered a veterinary emergency.

Watch Out for Halloween PlantsPumpkins, gourds, and corn are traditional Halloween foods and decorations.  While eating properly prepared pumpkins, squash and corn is relatively harmless for our pets, in some situations they can be dangerous.  Corn cobs are very attractive to dogs.  If ingested, cobs very may get stuck in the pet’s intestinal tract and require surgery to remove.  Similarly, decorative gourds/squash can be chewed up in large chunks that can get bound up in the intestines.  Finally, festive carved Jack o’ Lanterns often start to mold before they are thrown out.  If ingested these molds can make our pets ill.  Some molds called mycotoxins can even cause neurologic problems in dogs and cats.

Keep Glow Sticks Away from Pets: Glow sticks and glow jewelry are fun and can help keep us safe during Halloween activities.  While the glowing liquid inside is not toxic if chewed and ingested it can be very irritating to our pets’ mouths.  Ingestion can lead to oral irritation, drooling, pawing at the mouth, and even vomiting.  Additionally, ingested plastics can lead to gastric irritation or even intestinal blockage.

Be Careful with Halloween Decorations: Decorations are a traditional addition to Halloween festivities. They are fun for us but can be scary or even dangerous to our pets.  Pets can be intimidated by decorations, especially those with eyes, faces, or moving parts.  Be sure to introduce pets to decorations slowly using positive reinforcement. Many decorations also require electrical cords or batteries, both of which can be very dangerous if our pets chew on them!

Beware of Costumes:  As adorable as our pets are when dressed up, not all pets enjoy wearing costumes.  They can be irritating, scary, or even painful to our pets.  Some pets may panic when placed in a costume, which can lead to injury. Humans in costume can be very scary to our pets, too.  Make sure to introduce your pet slowly to costumed guests and read the pet’s body language.  Better yet, find a safe space for your pet to stay if people come over in costume.

Keep Candles Out of Pets’ Reach: Candles are common in Halloween decorations.  Remember that your pet does not recognize the danger that candles pose, and they may accidentally burn themselves or knock candles over.

Give Your Pet a Safe Space During Halloween Activities:  Trick or Treating and Halloween Parties are fun for us but can be very scary to our pets.  Make sure that your pets have safe space in the house away from trick or treaters at the front door, or party-goers in the house.  It is also advisable to keep your pets indoors during activities to prevent panicking pets from escaping from the yard.

Make Sure Your Pets Have ID Tags and Microchips:  Finally, make sure that your pet has an updated ID tag and (even better) a microchip with updated information.  In the event that your pet does escape during holiday festivities, this will make it easy for them to get back home if found.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact us!  We are happy to answer any questions you may have! 760-736-3636  or www.sanelijovet.com

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-736-3636
www.sanelijovet.com

Veterinary Workshop for High School Students!

Veterinary Workshop for High School Students!

We only have a few spots left! Register your student today!

Back by popular demand Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo is pleased to offer our next veterinary workshop on Wednesday, December 2nd! This class is open to High School students and will be held from 3:30 to 5:30. Students interested in a career in veterinary medicine are strongly encouraged to attend.

Veterinary Medicine 101

The Art of Physical Examination

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This course will cover:

  • How to perform a thorough physical examination on a dog
  • How to measure a dog’s vital signs

  • How to evaluate a dog’s body condition

  • How to use a stethoscope, otoscope and ophthalmoscope

Classes will be interactive lecture followed by a hands-on laboratory component. This class will be taught and directly supervised by a veterinarian. Gentle, friendly pets will be provided for students to learn physical examination skills. Enrollment is extremely limited and classes will be filled on a first come first served basis. Registration is 40.00 per student and is due in cash or check on the day of the workshop. Parents will be notified of your student’s registration status by e-mail. Refreshments will be provided.

Please visit our website at www.sanelijovet.com to fill out a registration form for your student. If you have questions or would like additional information please call our office at 760-736-3636.

Keep an eye out on our website for our information regarding our exciting upcoming “Exotics Encounter” workshop!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo Hills

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-736-3636
www.sanelijovet.com

Elementary students! It’s your turn for a veterinary adventure!

Elementary students! It’s your turn for a veterinary adventure!

The doctors and staff at Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo are pleased and excited to offer our next veterinary workshop on Wednesday, September 30th! This class is open to fourth and fifth grade elementary school students and will be held from 2:30 to 4:30. Pet lovers and students interested in a career in veterinary medicine are encouraged to attend.

The Art of Physical Examination

Untitled

This course will cover:

– How to perform a thorough physical examination on a dog

– How to measure a dog’s vital signs

– How to evaluate a dog’s body condition

– How to use a stethoscope, otoscope and ophthalmoscope

Classes will be interactive lecture followed by a hands-on laboratory component. This class will be taught and directly supervised by a veterinarian. Gentle, friendly pets will be provided for students to learn physical examination skills. Enrollment is extremely limited and classes will be filled on a first come first served basis. Registration is 40.00 per student and is due in cash or check on the day of the workshop. Parents will be notified of your student’s registration status by e-mail. Refreshments will be provided.

Please visit our website at www.sanelijovet.com to fill out a registration form for your student. If you have questions or would like additional information please call our office at 760-736-3636.

Does your child love animals of all kinds? So do we! Keep an eye on our website for information regarding our upcoming educational series Exotics Encounters.

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo Hills

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-736-3636
www.sanelijovet.com

 

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo – Pet Photo Contest

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo

Pet Photo Contest

Do you have the cutest or most interesting pet picture ever? Is your dog the canine version of a super-model? Is your cat so cute he deserves his own show on Animal Planet?

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo is getting ready to open our doors! We are hosting a Pet Photo Contest to help us decorate our hospital with fabulous photo artwork of San Elijo’s pets. Please help us beautify our hospital and give your pet the chance to get the exposure their cuteness deserves.

Please submit entries to admin@sanelijovet.com.

Photo submission criteria:

Entries must be submitted by Monday March 2nd

Up to 5 images may be submitted per entry

Only digital images will be considered

Please submit the highest possible resolution, 1200 X 1600 or greater is preferred.

Any breed or species is permitted including pocket pets, reptiles and birds

Photos may include children or other family members

Photos may be color or black and white

Please include the name of everyone (pets and people) in the picture, the year the photo was taken, and your name, address and phone number.

We are looking for a variety of images so feel free to include great action photos, your dog passed out on the beach, abstracts or any other unique pet pictures and settings.

Participation in this contest serves as your consent for your pet’s picture to be displayed in our hospital.

Finalists will be notified by e-mail and will receive a $50.00 gift certificate for your pet’s healthcare.

Thank you San Elijo! We can’t wait to show off your pets.

Dr Sunshine Riehl and Dr Paula Thomas

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo
Open March 12th
1691 Melrose Drive #110
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-736-3636
Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo Hills