Tag Archives: vet

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo is kicking off our new Wellness Diagnostic Packages

Give your pet the gift of great health this holiday season!  Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo is kicking off our new Wellness Diagnostic Packages with our Healthy for the Holidays Promotion!  For a limited time, we are offering comprehensive wellness packages* at up to 40% off our previous pricing of services purchased a la carte’!

Pet Preventative and Wellness care is the key to helping our animal companions live longer, healthier & happier lives.  This type of care encompasses healthy diet and exercise, preventative medical treatments such as vaccines, flea, and heartworm preventions, as well as wellness examinations and labwork.  While many owners understand the need for a healthy lifestyle and preventative vaccinations, they are often not familiar with the idea of and need for veterinary wellness screening.

Wellness care means care provided to your pet when they are not sick in hopes of keeping your pet healthier and happier longer.  It includes annual examinations, wellness blood tests, fecal screens, and even X-rays and ultrasounds. These exams and diagnostics help our doctors confirm that your pet is indeed healthy while establishing “baseline”/normal labwork values which can be tracked over the years.

Perhaps one of the most important functions of wellness diagnostics is the early detection of illness and disease.  Subtle changes in labwork can signal to a veterinarian that something may be wrong with a pet who otherwise appears healthy.  Just as it is with people, early detection is key to delaying progression of disease, or even providing a cure for many conditions.

Now is a perfect time for pet owners to take this important step toward ensuring their pet’s long-term health.  Through December 31, 2022 we are offering comprehensive wellness packages tailored to your pet’s needs based on their species and stage of life.  These discounted packages include a complete veterinary physical exam as well as comprehensive labwork and other diagnostics to help make sure that your pet’s bodily systems are healthy and there are no indications of early disease or illness.  

Our Healthy for the Holidays Wellness Packages for 2022:

Young EssentialsSenior EssentialsSenior Comprehensive

Comprehensive Physical Exam Young Wellness Blood Panel Fecal Parasite Screen Heartworm Test Tickborne Disease Test (dog) Feline Viral Screen (cat) Urinalysis

Comprehensive Physical Exam Senior Wellness Blood Panel Thyroid Test Fecal Parasite Screen Heartworm Test Tickborne Disease Test (dog) Feline Viral Screen (cat) Urinalysis Blood Pressure Intraocular Pressure Test (dog)

Comprehensive Physical Exam Senior Wellness Blood Panel Thyroid Test Fecal Parasite Screen Heartworm Test Tickborne Disease Test (dog) Feline Viral Screen (cat) Urinalysis Blood Pressure Intraocular Pressure Test (dog) Chest X-rays Electrocardiograph Screen Abdominal Ultrasound

*Healthy for the Holidays Packages are intended as wellness screens for pets free from obvious serious illness.  Wellness packages are not offered for ill pets in need of medical workup.

 If you are interested in take this important step for your pet’s health, contact Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo at (760) 736-3636 for more information or to make an appointment!

Click here for more information on these great packages! 

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110

San Marcos, CA 92078



Noise Phobias in Pets

Noise Phobias in Pets

With July 4th quickly approaching many of us are thinking about backyard barbeques and get togethers with friends.  Unfortunately, for many pets and their owners, this holiday brings anxiety and fear thanks to the traditional fireworks displays that Independence Day brings.

Noise phobias are a common affliction among pets.  The condition is defined as excessive fear of a sound or several sounds resulting in a feeling of panic in the pet. It can be in response to seemingly mundane sounds (such as a beeping microwave), however a reaction to fireworks and/or thunder may be the most common.
This panic can be displayed as hiding, urinating/defecating, drooling, panting, pacing, trembling/shaking, or excessive barking.  In extreme cases, the pet may actually try and flee the area, even breaking through windows in an attempt to escape!  In fact, shelters report that the July 4th holiday results in the largest number of escaped pets being brought into their facilities.

The cause of noise phobias is often not known to the pet owner or behavior professionals. Genetics can play a roll in phobias, but past trauma or even a lack of early positive exposure can result in phobias as well.  Regardless of the source, keeping your pet safe and comfortable, then managing their fear is of the upmost importance.

Management of the Environment: 
While there are long-term treatment options for noise phobias, initially keeping your pet safe and content should be your primary concern.

Safety First: Make sure that your pet can be safely and comfortably contained during a fearful event.  A quiet room without windows is ideal, but you can also use a small room with sound-absorbing window covers.  Make sure your pet cannot reach or jump through the windows and cannot hurt themselves on furnishings.
Make this are a “safe space” by training your pet to relax here far before they are exposed to the scary noise.  Have comfortable bedding, familiar toys, etc.  If your pet enjoys time in a crate, have a familiar crate set up in this space, as well.  Encourage your pet to spend calm time there whenever possible.

Security Jackets and Pheromones:  It can be helpful to use calming pheromones (Adaptil in dogs and Feliway for cats) in your pet’s “safe space.”  These pheromones can help instill a sense of calm in your pet and help establish the area as a place to relax.  Additionally, multiple companies make compression jackets (such as the “Thunder Shirt”) for pets which can further help with your pet’s sense of security.

Nutraceutical and Pharmaceutical Options:
In addition to creating a safe environment, there are both nutritional supplements and pharmaceutical medications that may be able to help your pet.
Nutraceuticals: There are a variety of nutraceutical options on the market to help calm your pet.  While these usually do not have as significant an effect as prescription medications, many owners report positive results with theses products.  However, because the pet supplement industry is only loosely regulated, it is important to consider the product and its source.  Your veterinarian can help make recommendations for your individual pet.
Pharmaceuticals: There are several prescription medications that have been proven helpful in managing fears and phobias in pet dogs.  A wellness exam and consultation with your veterinarian can help determine the best option for you and your pet.

When starting a new supplement or medication, it is recommended that you give it to your pet BEFORE the actual phobic event.  That way, you know how it affects your pet and for how long.  Some products can have what is called a paradoxical effect in individual pets, meaning it could result in hyperactivity or anxiety, making that product a poor choice for managing phobias in that particular pet.

Behavioral Management:
For long term care of phobias in pets, behavioral management is your best option.  Consulting with an experienced positive-reinforcement based trainer about your pet’s fears is a good way to start.  Note that you should NEVER use “correction” or “punishment” based training to manage phobias! 

Ideally, pet owners should consult with a Veterinary Behaviorist about pets with severe phobias.  These are veterinarians with special training in animal behavior. They are able to both recommend the best nutraceutical/pharmaceutical options and behavioral training options to help your pet long-term with managing their phobias.

With Independence Day around the corner, now is the time to consider your pet’s phobias and safety.  Make sure your pet has their collar/tag and microchip information up to date in the event of an escape.  If you feel that your pet would benefit from supplements or medications to help get them through the holiday, contact your veterinarian early!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

Your Pets and Heartworm Disease

Heartworm in Pets

April is Heartworm Awareness Month.  This disease was once almost unheard of in Southern California; however, in recent years, changes in weather patterns, the introduction of new mosquito species, and the import of dogs from areas where heartworms are common had lead to a significant increase in incidence of this disease.  Heartworm disease is not only increasing in our pet population, but is becoming more common in the wild animal population, putting our pet dogs and cats even further at risk.

What is Heartworm Disease 

Heartworms disease is a very serious infection that is extremely common in many parts of the United States.  It is caused by footlong worms that as adults reside in the heart, lungs, and associate blood vessels.  As the disease progresses, it can cause severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs of the body.  It is ultimately be fatal if left untreated.

Heartworm disease can affect dogs, cats, and ferrets as well as wild mammals such as wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions, and very rarely humans.  Wild animals that live in proximity to humans (such as coyotes in Southern California) can be carriers of this disease and increase the risk of transmission to domestic pets.

Heartworm in Dogs vs Cats

Dogs are a “natural host” for heartworm, meaning the worms live inside dog and are able to grow to adulthood, mate, and produce offspring.  Dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies.  This large worm burden can cause lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries.  The damage can be severe and may become permanent, even after the infestation has been treated.

Infection in cats is very different than in dogs.  Most worms do not survive to adulthood and cats that do carry adult worms usually don’t have more than 1-3.  This actually makes heartworm harder to diagnose in cats, but does not mean it is harmless.  Immature heartworms in cats can cause a pulmonary condition known as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD), which can have some significant symptoms.  Additionally, heartworm in cats cannot be “treated” in the same way as dogs, so prevention is the only real means of protecting cats.


Mosquitos are responsible for the transmission of heartworm between pets.  Adult female heartworms living inside a host animal produce microscopic offspring known as microfilaria.  When the mosquito bites the infected animal, it picks up the immature heartworm in the blood meal.  These microfilaria mature inside the mosquito over the period of 10-14 days.  At this point, they are in the “infective stage” where they are able to be transmitted to another animal through a mosquito bite.  Once the heartworms mature, they can live for 5-7 years in dogs and up to 2-3 years in cats, which is a long time to reproduce, do damage, and spread.

Signs of Heartworm

In the early stages of infection, many animals show few to no symptoms at all.  The longer the pet is infected however, the more clinical signs develop. 
In dogs, mature worms live in the heart, lungs, and associated vessels, so dogs with advanced infections show signs similar to heart and/or lung disease.  Dogs may develop a mild to persistent cough, exercise intolerance, reluctance to exercise, decreased appetite, lethargy, and weight loss.  As this disease progresses, it can even cause heart failure and the dog may develop fluid in the belly resulting in a swollen abdomen.  Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can even develop sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to life-threatening cardiovascular collapse.
Heartworm disease in cats has signs ranging from the subtle to the dramatic.  Symptoms may include coughing and/or asthma-like episodes, vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss.  Unfortunately, in some cases, the first sign is sudden collapse or even death.

Treatment for Heartworm Disease

While most infected dogs can successfully be treated, the treatment is both long and can be uncomfortable.  In advanced cases with significant clinical signs, it can even be dangerous.   The dog must first be stabilized from any significant symptoms it may have.  Once this has achieved, the treatment involves several steps over many weeks.  During this time it is imperative that the dog’s activity be restricted because physical exertion increases the rate at which the heartworms can do damage to the heart and lungs.

For cats, there is no approved heartworm treatment.  Because cats are not an “ideal” host for heartworms, some infections resolve on their own.  Cats should be treated for symptoms associated with infection and maintained on heartworm prevention to prevent reinfection.

Preventing Heartworm Disease

While heartworm disease is a dangerous infection that is difficult to treat, it is very easy to prevent.  There are multiple safe and proven products (usually administered once monthly) on the market to help protect dogs and cats from this dangerous disease.  These products are economical, effective, easy to administer, and have few side effects.  As a bonus, many of them also prevent against some internal parasite infections.  There are also combination products on the market which protect against heartworm, internal parasites, fleas, and even ticks.
For dogs over seven months old, it is recommended that they be heartworm tested prior to starting preventatives.  Additionally, dogs should stay on the product year-round as mosquitos can be found during all times of year.  Cats can be started on heartworm preventative without prior testing.

If you have questions about heartworm disease or your pet’s prevention status, please give us a call at (760) 736-3636!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

The Importance of Healthy Weight in Our Pets-Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

Obesity is one of the most common chronic health conditions that veterinarians identify in American pets.  Chronic excess weight is linked to a number of serious and costly health problems in pets.  These problems are uncomfortable for the pet, can be expensive for the owner to manage, and can significantly decrease a pet’s longevity and wellness.  In fact, studies have shown that being chronically overweight can decrease a pet’s lifespan by up to 20%!

Excess fat not only puts additional strain on the supportive structures of the body (bone, cartilage, and soft tissues), but it actually leads to systemic chronic inflammation. Fat is an active, dynamic tissue which secretes proteins and hormones into the body known as adipokines.  These adipokines regulate energy homeostasis, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity, as well as immune and cardiovascular functions.  In cases of excess weight and/or obesity, adipokines begin to have detrimental effects which lead to chronic body-wide inflammation.  This inflammatory state can cause or exacerbate many wellness and longevity impacting conditions in the body:

Joint Problems and Arthritis

Exercise Intolerance

Breathing Difficulties


Cardiovascular Conditions and Heart Disease

Immune System Problems and Endocrine Disorders



Determining if your Pet is Overweight

How do you know if your pet is “overweight”?  Experts believe that a pet is overweight to obese if they weigh 10%-20% more than their “ideal” weight.  It is important to note, that this could be a matter of a couple pounds if your pet is small (1-2 pounds for a 10 pound dog or cat) and only five pounds in a 50lb dog!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 
1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

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

Heat tips from Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

With their cute round faces, big eyes, and fun personalities, short-snouted breeds such as French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers have become increasingly popular in recent years.  These dogs, along with other flat faced breeds such as Boxers, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Japanese Chins are known as Brachycephalic dog breeds.  This term refers to the shape of these dogs’ muzzles, which are significantly more compact than other dog breeds.

While charming and adorable, flat-snouted dogs carry with them a special set of dangers vs their longer-nosed cousins.  Their flat faces mean significantly shortened facial bones and a shortening of the overlying soft tissue.  These structural differences mean both their soft palate (the soft tissue in the back of animals’ throats) and their nasal passage are more compacted, often resulting in a partially blocked airway. This particular set of structural abnormalities is known as Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome.  The end result is a relatively obstructed airway which affects the dog’s ability to respirate.

In addition to needing efficient breathing to provide oxygen to the body, dogs rely heavily on their respiratory tract to dissipate heat.  Breathing, in the form of panting, is the primary way in which dogs cool their bodies down.  This means that efficient breathing is essential for thermoregulation.  For Brachycephalic breeds, this vital function is restricted, often severely, which put these dogs in jeopardy during hot weather or extreme exercise. 

It is important that owners of Brachycephalic breeds understand the restrictions of their dogs’ anatomies.  For starters, these dogs should NOT be asked to participate in activities that require higher respiratory and cardiovascular output. This includes activities such as hiking, running, and jogging, especially during warmer weather.  While all dogs need exercise, flat nose breeds benefit from regular exercise that is slow and steady vs fast and/or intense. 

In addition, it is important to note that these breeds are especially susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  The best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it and to know the signs of danger.

All dog owners should know the signs of heat-related injury and owners of Brachycephalic breeds should know these can occur much more quickly in their dogs vs. their longer snouted cousins:

Signs of Danger include:

  • A noticeable rise in breathing volume or a “gurgling” sound when they breathe
  • Excessive panting and/or panting that appears labored
  • Bright red gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Glazed eyes
  • Difficulty walking/walking very slowly
  • Vomiting and/or bloody diarrhea
  • Lack of coordination or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are life threatening and should be considered a veterinary emergency.

The best way to “treat” heat related injuries are to simply prevent them.  The following advise will help prevent heat stroke in your dog:

  • Be aware of the forecasted temperature and keep your pet out of the heat; for some sun-loving dogs, this may mean locking them indoors during the heat of the day
  • Limit outdoor exposure during the hottest months of the year
  • ALWAYS have cool water available.
  • Walk dogs, especially brachycephalic breeds, on a harness.  This will prevent blockage of the airway which is essential for efficient respiration and efficient body cooling
  • Offer a cooling pad or cool areas for your pet to lie down if they need to cool off
  • DO NOT exercise your dog or allow them to play outdoors when it is warm outside.  Remember that flat-nosed breeds have a lower heat tolerance, so they should be exercised only when it is cool outside.

In addition, studies have shown that brachycephalic dogs who are physically fit are better able to respirate and are better able to manage their body temperatures.  This means that healthy weight and exercise are important to preventing heat related injuries.  Heed the following advise regarding conditioning your Brachycephalic dog:

  • In general, squatty flat-nosed dog breeds are not designed for strenuous exercise.  Avoid running/jogging, hiking, and similar exercise requiring significant respiratory output
  • Healthy weight is essential to the wellbeing of all dogs.  Your dog, regardless of breed, should have a visible waist and a “tummy tuck” behind their chest when viewing from the side.  In addition, your dog’s ribs should be easy to feel when lighting running your fingers down their sides.  You should not feel a layer of fat over your pet’s ribcage
  • Keep your pet physically fit.  While it is inadvisable to require strenuous exercise (such as jogging, running, and steep hiking) of a dog with a significantly flattened snout, exercise is still important.  Your pet should have mild to moderate exercise daily, ideally twice daily
  • If you are just starting an exercise program, do so slowly and allow your dog to buildup endurance over time
  • Always exercise your brachycephalic breed dog a harness.  This allows them to keep their already restricted airway as open as possible
  • When exercising (regardless of ambient temperature) always pay attention to your dog’s breathing.  If it becomes louder or seems strained or labored, stop the exercise and allow your dog to rest/cool down. Head home once they are cooled off
  • Take water with you during exercise with your dog.  This will allow you to help them cool down 

In general, it is important to remember that brachycephalic breeds often have significantly compromised respiratory tracts.  This affects their ability to exercise, handle extreme stress, and to cool their bodies.  Neglecting these considerations can put your dog in a life-threatening situation.

If you have any concerns about heat-related injury in your pet or any other concerns about your pet’s wellbeing, contact your veterinarian immediately for expert advise and treatment.

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

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

Pet Stress During the Pandemic

Stay at Home orders and the recent COVID pandemic have been a source of stress to many members of our community.  Our animal companions have provided comfort and relief from some of the stress we all are feeling; however, some pet owners are reporting concerning changes in their pets at this time. 
While it might seem that owners being home all day would be a dream for pets, we need to remember that their world has suddenly been turned upside down, resulting in significant stress.

Dogs, as a rule, tend to turn to their owners in times of stress and discomfort.  This is often expressed in things we consider “nuisance” behaviors.  Dogs may appear more needy by constantly following, nosing, and otherwise “pestering” their owners for attention.  In addition, dogs may act out by being more destructive, barking more, or even hiding in the house.  

Cats, on the other hand, often become anti-social during times of stress.  Feline family members may look for places to hide in the house and may disappear for hours at a time.  Additionally, cats may display destructive behaviors such as increased scratching and inappropriate urination behaviors.

While we can’t change the Stay at Home orders, we can do a lot to help our pets’ stress levels.  Patience, consistency, and creativity are key.

Be patient with your pets during this time and give them time to adjust to their “new normal.” Lashing out in frustration will only increase their stress.

Be consistent day to day.  Create a routine that your pet can depend on.  This does not mean that you can’t mix in fun surprises like hikes, walking adventures, and impromptu play sessions, but keep daily necessities like meal times and walks on a predictable routine.

Give your pets space: Make areas in the house where your pet can have “alone time,” and allow them to choose to be there.  Make sure these areas are safe, comfortable, and kid-free.

Create entertainment time: Make time to entertain your pet.  Exercise and mental stimulation are not only great stress relievers, but they increase the bond between owners and their pet.  There are many easy and inexpensive ways to exercise your pet’s body and mind.  Here are a few ideas:


Most dogs love physical exercise of one type or the other.  Ideas include playing ball in the backyard, simple neighborhood walks, or hikes on our beautiful local trails.  When exercising your dog, always take into account their level of conditioning and physical abilities.  Also consider current regulations regarding open trails, protective gear, and physical distancing.

Brain games can be as exhausting and stimulating as exercise for many dogs.  Try hiding toys and treats around the house for a game of “find it!” Mix up their meal time with maze/puzzle feeders, snuffle mats, and food stuffed Kong toys.  Finally, teach your dog some new tricks.  Pups both old and young love to learn!


Cats benefit from physical and mental stimulation as well.  Keep some of those shipping boxes and make a “box fort” for your feline.  Few cats can resist the allure of a brand new box or bag!  Cats can also benefit from puzzle toys or maze feeders to make their meal time more interesting.  Look for puzzle feeders specially designed for cats (and make sure to keep the boxes for additional kitty play). You may also give your cat a new perspective by installing a new cat tree, wall shelves, hammocks, or window shelves for your cat to explore.

Finally, if your pet seems so distressed that it is manifesting physical symptoms.  Contact your veterinarian.  Psychological stress can be as hard on pets as it is on people, and there are medical options that can give your furry friend relief! 

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

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!

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