Tag Archives: Veterinary

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

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!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo-Offers Targeted Cryotherapy

CRYOSURGERY: Targeted Cryotherapy

At Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo, we now offer a new service that is safe and effective for removing small, benign lesions. Dogs (and cats) tend to develop skin tags or warts as they age. For the most part, these are only a cosmetic issue. However, some small masses can become a problem for your pet, particularly if they develop on the face, ears or eyelids. 

Cryosurgery, or targeted cryotherapy, delivers a very fine jet of liquefied gas that enables us to target the skin lesion without damaging the surrounding tissue. This gas causes the water in cells to freeze and disrupts the blood supply. The damaged cells are then cleared out by the immune system and the dead cells are shed by the body. This procedure does not require anesthesia or a surgical incision. There are minimal complications associated with this treatment and can be done during a scheduled appointment, which makes it fast, inexpensive and convenient. 

What can cryosurgery be used on?

  • Skin tags
  • Warts
  • Small masses
  • Small tumors









Please call our office to schedule an appointment if you believe your pet can benefit from this service. (760)736-3636.


Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

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

East & West Animal Hospital now open in San Marcos

East & West Animal Hospital

Regular Veterinary Medicine, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Holistic Medicine

Emergencies welcome

Mon – Fri 8 AM – 6 PM, Sat 8 AM – 1PM

750 S Rancho Santa Fe Rd

San Marcos, CA 92078


For more info visit: www.eastwestah.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


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

Rattlesnake season is upon us! Advanced Veterinary Care is offering a Discount on Vaccine

Rattlesnake Vaccine

Rattlesnake season is upon us!

Unfortunately, hot summer weather dramatically increases rattlesnake activity in our beautiful hills, putting us and our pets in potential danger.

What can you do to protect your dog? Here are some tips:

  • Vaccinate your dog with the rattlesnake vaccine.
  • Keep your dog on leash, and near the center of the trail whenever possible.
  • Work with your dog to ensure he comes when he is called, so that if you hear or see a snake, you can get your dog away quickly and effectively.
  • Stay on wide, established trails instead of hiking through areas where snakes can easily hide.
  • Don’t allow your dog to burrow, sniff around in bushes or otherwise try to tangle with wildlife.
  • Consider installing snake-proof fencing on your property.

Signs of a snake bite include puncture wounds from the fangs of the snake, bruising, rapid swelling and pain. If you suspect your dog may have been bitten, immediately seek veterinary attention; if at all possible call ahead, so our veterinary team can prepare. The doctors and staff at Advanced Veterinary Care are experienced at treating rattlesnake envenomation and are prepared to provide aggressive care for your pet, including anti-venom, in the event that they are bitten.

The rattlesnake vaccine is not indicated for every dog. Dr. Riehl and Dr. Thomas are happy to make a recommendation as to whether or not your dog should be vaccinated based upon his or her lifestyle and degree of potential exposure. Please call our office today at 760-736-3636 to schedule an appointment for your dog’s vaccine or to find out if the vaccine is recommended for your pet. Dogs who have never been vaccinated for the rattlesnake vaccine will need a booster in 2-3 weeks from the first vaccine. Both vaccines will be discounted by 50% if performed within the month of July.

Offer good through July 1st-31st. The discounted cost of the vaccine is 14.50. Vaccinated animals still require timely, aggressive emergency care in the event of a bite.

Advanced Veterinary Care is committed to your pet’s health and safety this summer.

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo Hills

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

Memorial Weekend Veterinary Care

Memorial Weekend Veterinary Care

For your convenience, and for your pets health and safety, Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo will be open our normal business hours throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Our doctors and staff are available this holiday weekend to provide routine or emergency care for your special pet. We hope that your pets stay out of trouble but we are here for you if any veterinary problems arise.

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo

Enjoy your holiday and set a good example for your pet by staying safe!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

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