Thursday, June 30, 2011

Keep Your Pet Safe on the Fourth of July by Frank Utchen, DVM

We all remember as a child the excitement of the 4th of July fireworks. However, that excitement for a child (or an adult!) might translate into panic for a dog or cat who doesn’t understand what is happening.

This 4th of July please consider things from your pet’s perspective and help them have an enjoyable and safe holiday.

Fireworks can frighten pets, and that fear can cause a dog or cat to panic and try to escape the confines of a yard or even the house. To help protect pets during the 4th of July holiday, consider the following:

·         Keep your pet indoors on the 4th of July in a quiet and isolated room with covered
windows, to help your pet feel safe and secure. Turn on a fan, radio, or TV to muffle the sound of fireworks. These devices provide familiar indoor sounds and may help soothe your pet if he must be alone on this noisy holiday.

·         Don’t bring your pet to a fireworks display. Many dogs are afraid of fireworks and other loud noises and they won’t appreciate the colors (dogs are virtually color blind).
·         If you go to see fireworks and leave your furry friend at home, make sure he or she is very secure. Dogs have been known to break through screens, fences, even glass windows when terrified and trying to escape the sound of fireworks. The days after the 4th of July weekend are the busiest ones of the year for many animal shelters - many dogs get "lost" after running in fear from fireworks. This applies to cats too. Independence Day should be celebrated by all of us, but the whole idea of independence is a risky proposition when it applies to your pet running free across busy streets.
·         Plan now. Make sure your pet has an identification tag on and check to see that the tag is legible (sometimes the engraving gets worn off). Your dog should also be wearing a current rabies tag.

·         Additionally, I strongly encourage our clients to have their pet “microchipped”. This is a small implanted chip, about the size of a grain of rice, which is injected under a pet’s skin over the back of their neck or shoulders. This is invaluable in the event that they lose their collar and tags.
If you know from past experience that your pet will suffer from severe anxiety caused by the loud noise of fireworks, here are 3 things you can do: 

·         First, you may consider talking with your veterinarian several days in advance about giving your pet a mild tranquilizer. If you are unsure of how your pet will respond to a tranquilizer, I often recommend that my clients give it a “trial run” a week ahead of time when they will be with their pet for an afternoon or evening and they can see how their pet is affected.
·         Second, an herbal remedy referred to as “Rescue Remedy” may also help. This is available in many pharmacies. Generally a single drop of this will help calm a nervous dog, but because the flavor is disagreeable to some dogs, some veterinarians recommend diluting it slightly with water.
·         Third, you may wish to consider a product called "Comfort Zone with DAP", which releases a chemical which is supposed to be a dog comforting pheromone. It often helps to calm stressed or exited dogs down. A different but equivalent pheromone has been isolated and produced to help calm cats. See for more information. For some "anxious dogs" it seems to really help take the edge off of their anxiety or intensity. Ideally this should be used for a week or so before fireworks are expected. In the TriValley Area this is available at Pet Care Depot in San Ramon.
If, despite all your efforts, your pet still behaves nervously by pacing, whining or crying, distract your pet by playing with him or doing something he enjoys. Don’t stroke, pet or reassure him by saying, “Don’t worry. It’s okay.” This may actually reinforce your pet’s anxious behavior.

Summer Fun Pet Photo Contest

Send us your favorite summer pet photo and you could win a three month supply of flea prevention! All submissions will be posted on our Facebook page for your viewing pleasure. Photos will be voted on by our doctors and staff. Winners will be announced on September 5th. Only one photo per pet. No professional pictures, please. Good luck; we can't wait to see all our furry friends having fun in the sun!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Pet Tip: Allergies by Dr. Kristel Weaver, DVM

Many dogs and cats have allergies to airborne agents such as molds, pollens and dust. While some suffer year round, many are more affected between the spring and fall. Allergies are a chronic problem but we have a variety of treatments to keep them under control. Watch out for chewing or licking of the feet and legs, scratching in the armpits or groin, and scratching and shaking the ears. Skin and ear infections are commonly seen in our pets with allergies.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Pet Tip: Summer is Here at Last!

After a grey, cold, rainy May the sun has come out to play; summer is here at last!  It's going to be extremely hot in the Bay Area today as well as the rest of the week, so Monday's Pet Tip is about protecting your pets from the heat. Keep reading for warm weather tips and general guidelines, information on heat stroke, and even suggestions for keeping your pocket pets cool in the summer time.
 General Guidelines 
  • If possible, keep your pets indoors with the shades drawn and the air conditioning or an oscillating fan on.
  • If your pet has to stay outside make sure they have access to cool and shaded areas.
  • Whether they are indoors or outside, make sure your pet has access to plenty of cool, fresh water. You can even try putting ice cubes in their bowls to keep the water extra cool.
  • Do not leave pets unsupervised around pools. Not all pets are water savvy and even experienced swimmers can get tired and have trouble getting out of a pool.
  • Keep long, thick fur trimmed in a lightweight summer cut.
  • Only take your dog on a walk early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is cooler. Not only can exercise in extreme heat cause heat stoke but the hot asphalt can burn sensitive paw pads. 
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or play in general in the hot weather; don't go on long hikes or lengthy walks.
  • NEVER leave your pet in the car! Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke  
  • Excessive panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Drooling
  • Weakness, stupor, and possible collapse
  • Seizures
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Flat nosed breeds such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Persians are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. Other pets at high risk include the elderly, overweight pets, and pets with heart or lung disease.
If you think your pet may be suffering from heat stroke, get them to a vet immediately. In the interim you can try to cool them off by dousing them with cool (but not COLD water) especially on the groin, arm pits, and paws. You do not want to soak them completely with cold water. This can cause shock and can also cause the blood vessels to constrict, thereby trapping heat inside the body. 
You can read more information about heat stroke here, from our Pet Health Library. You can also read about Tucker Klopp on our Lives Saved page; a Newfoundland who was hospitalized after collapsing on a hot day.
Tips for Keeping Pocket Pets Cool 
  • Place a large, ceramic tile in the freezer overnight, then place inside the pet's cage. Make sure to cover the sharp edges so your pet won't get cut. You can purchase tiles at most hardware stores for fairly cheap.
  • Make sure they have access to full, fresh water bottles.
  • Place a cold, damp (not soaking wet) towel in one part of their cage, insuring your pet still has warm, dry spots in their habitat. You can also drape the towel on the outside of the cage, over one side to create a cool, shaded shelter.
  • Keep their cages indoors and out of direct sunlight. 
  • Place frozen water bottles wrapped in towels in their cage for pets to lean against. Secure them so they do not have the chance to roll over. 
  • Use an oscillating fan near their cage. This way the fan is not constantly blowing directly on your pocket pet but is still providing cool air flow.
  • Feed them frozen fruit and refrigerated veggies.
  • Mist rabbit ears lightly with water to help them regulate their temperature.
  • The House Rabbit Society has an informative page on rabbits and heat exhaustion with useful tips that can be applied towards other pocket pets as well.
By taking the proper precautions and following a few simple guidelines we can enjoy all the fun the season brings and keep our pets healthy and safe. It doesn't take much to make sure our furry friends are comfortable and cool in the heat. If you have any questions or concerns, we are here when you need us! Stop on by or give us a call at 925-866-8387 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            925-866-8387     . end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Friday, June 17, 2011


Flower, who now goes by Kevin (named after the bird from the movie Up) wants everyone to know that she is doing great and having a wonderful time in her new, loving home!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care's Featured Employee: Olivia Hernandez

It is not just our brilliant veterinarians that make Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center a truly great hospital. All of our employees contribute to the success of our practice and each one, in their own way, help to make our patients' lives better. We would like to take the opportunity to feature these amazing individuals and give them a moment in the spotlight, here on our blog. 

Today, our featured Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center family member is Olivia Hernandez. She is an upbeat technician and shift coordinator who has worked here for over nine years! Just the other day Olivia took the time to answer some questions for Communications Coordinator Erin Selby.

Erin: Why do you work at BRVC? What do you like best about working at BRVC?

Olivia: I came to BRVC 9 years ago when I had just recently graduated from Veterinary Technician school and was very green to the Veterinary world. I knew I needed experience and thought this place would be great for this because of its size. Little did I know that this place would steal my heart and let me grow in my career and achieve my passion. That’s one of the great things about BRVC, you can grow so much here and not feel, even after 9 years, that you are stuck at a plateau with your career.

E: Who was your first pet? Tell us about your current pets.

O: I have always been a cat person and have had 5 cats total during my life. My first furry child was “Pepper” no pet will of course ever compare! As of right now I have 3 cats Leche, Angelo and Sachi who I love and adore. Just recently my boyfriend and I rescued 2 Chihuahua puppies, a girl named Sabina and a boy named Bobby.  I never thought I’d be so attached to dogs, but these little boogers stole my heart and now I can’t figure out who rules more, cats or dogs?

E: What is your most memorable BRVC moment?

O: There have been so many wonderful moments I can’t decide. My first C-section reviving puppies, my first solo tooth extraction, my first emergency are just some to name a few. That is the great thing about working in this field, you learn something new every day.

E: Do you have a patient that is special to you? Why?

O: All the patients I work with have a special place in my heart. But of course there are those very special patients that you will never forget because they have left a “paw print” on your heart. For me, Henry Carr and Norman Hinkly were those patients. They were both my very first experience with chemotherapy pets. I will never forget their bravery and upbeat personalities during all their chemotherapy sessions. I think I was more upset and sad than they were. I was supposed to be the one holding it together for them and reassuring them everything will be ok. But Norman and Henry would come in for their treatments as happy as can be like, “Come on let’s fight this cancer!”.  Henry with his hugs and always dancing in his dog run and Norman with his cheerful, very unique bark- they just made my experience better and for that I am thankful.

E: What do you like to do outside of work?

O: I really enjoy reading, I just got the kindle and OMG it is amazing! I highly recommend it. I also just got the new iphone and I am completely addicted, if you don’t have one you’re totally missing out.  I love shopping, what girl doesn’t? I’m really into anything Hello Kitty at the moment. I just recently got back from the “Happiest Place on Earth” (Disneyland) and I will be going again this summer. I can’t seem to get enough of the place; if I could live there I would, in Sleeping Beauty’s castle of course!

Thank you so much for sharing with us Olivia, and thanks for helping make Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center an incredible place to work!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fabulous New Additions to Our Website!

We are quite pleased to announce some exciting updates to our website. Not only do we have a brand new Internet Pharmacy but you can now make payments on your account via the Make Payment page! 

Our goal is to make ordering your pet's medications as easy and convenient as possible. Now you can:  
  • Pay online with secured payment transactions.
  • Access and order medications anywhere, anytime, using your smart phone.
  • Get free shipping on all orders over $39.

We also have a special offer to take 10% off your first purchase of $55 or more by ordering online today! Use the code NEWRX and the discount will automatically be applied to your purchase.

Making a payment on your account has never been easier with our new payment page. It's safe, secure, and easy to use. Now you can leave deposits for a hospitalized pet or for your boarding reservation without having to come down to the the hospital or calling in your credit card information. You can even use your smart phone to access our website and pay from where ever you are no matter the time!

We are excited to bring these changes to you and hope it helps make your busy life a little easier. Contact us today at 925-866-8387 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            925-866-8387      end_of_the_skype_highlighting with any questions you may have!