Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blood Donor Barnacle by Erin Selby

This is Barnacle! He is smiling because he is about to donate blood to help save a fellow dog's life. This is not his first time donating so he isn't nervous at all; in fact he doesn't even need to be sedated.
Barnacle is patiently waiting while everyone around him prepares to collect his blood. He has a technician's comforting hands on him to help him feel secure; he loves all the extra scratches and belly rubs.
The technician is sterilizing the shaved patch of skin above Barnacle's jugular to prevent contamination. She does this right before placing the catheter to collect the blood.

Everyone is working together to help our heroic donor's procedure go as quickly and smoothly as possible!
Almost done, just a little bit more to go! Barnacle was very relaxed; he is an old pro at this.

All done! Thank you Barnacle- you're a hero!

We are always looking for volunteer blood donors here at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care. If you and your pet are interested in being part of this amazing program or if you have any questions, please contact Samantha at

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Pet Tip: Halloween Chocolate and Treats

Halloween kicks off the Holiday season and is a nationally beloved holiday full of costumes, decorations and best of all treats! Candy, and that means chocolate, is everywhere in the month of October so it is especially important to remember the chocolate is toxic to our cats and dogs. The number of phone calls received regarding dogs ingesting chocolate the week of Halloween increased by 209% over a normal week, according to the Pet Poison Helpline

This means we have to be hyper aware and vigilant of where we leave our candy stashes. Keep chocolate up high and out of your pet’s reach or safely locked away. Don’t forget to keep the trash can secure as well. Have a discussion with your children about the serious consequences of a pet getting into chocolate and to be thoughtful about where they leave their candy. Designate a safe, pet free place for candy/chocolate storage in your home.

Chocolate ingestion results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, inflammation of the pancreas, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and if left untreated it can possibly lead to death. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, call us immediately for advice at (925) 866-8387. You can also call Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435.

The severity of the toxicity depends on the type and amount of chocolate ingested. The size of your pet matters as well. Baker’s chocolate is the most deadly with white chocolate being the least dangerous. But white chocolate still contains a lot of fat and sugar which can still be bad for your pet. Sugary, fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, which can result in hospitalization. Signs of pancreatitis include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and potentially kidney failure. 

Raisins are another food that sometimes shows up in Halloween treats and candies. Raisins are toxic for dogs as well, and cause kidney damage and failure. Xylitol is found in many sugar free products and is in many gums. This is also a highly toxic chemical for pets. Call the veterinarian immediately if you believe your pet has ingested either one of these. Candy wrappers and foils can be swallowed by a hungry pet munching though a candy stash. These can lead to an intestinal obstruction. Watch for signs of vomiting, decreased appetite and lack of a bowel movement. It is not just chocolate that is dangerous so it is best to keep all human treats and sweets out of harm’s way.

Halloween is a celebratory time, full of fun activities and delicious treats. Help keep your holiday fun by taking some precautionary steps and be vigilant about your pet’s safety.

-Erin Selby

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Pet Tip: Preventative Care at Home

One way to practice preventative care for your pet at home is to "pet proof" your house. Invest in garbage cans that seal or lock and make sure cabinets are secure from prying pet paws. You would be surprised at what a determined and curious cat or dog can get open. Make sure all house hold chemicals such as cleaning products and pesticides are locked up and out of reach. Simple steps such as these can help save you and your pet a trip to the vet. What do you do in your home to keep your pet out of trouble?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Welcome Dr. Abrams!

Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care is proud to announce the addition of a new veterinarian to our staff. We would like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Rebecca Abrams! 

A native Californian, Dr. Abrams graduated from Northwestern University where she received her BA and DVM from the University of Minnesota. She moved back to California to pursue a post-veterinary school internship at East Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency in Walnut Creek. Her special interests include ultrasound and surgery. She currently lives in Oakland with her husband Joe, and their two cats Romeo and Tootsie. When she’s not working with animals, you can find her hiking, learning how to play the guitar, or snowboarding.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Murray the Blood Donor: A Hero's Tail by Erin Selby

Meet Murray. He looks like your typical short haired cat but there is more to this handsome ginger tabby than meets the eye. To put it simply, Murray is a hero. This unassuming house cat gave his  blood in order to help a fellow kitty in need. That's right, Murray is a blood donor!

Did you know there was such a thing as animal blood donors? Blood transfusions are a vital part of emergency veterinary medicine. We rely on canine and feline blood donors for these life saving transfusions.

At Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care we have created a Blood Donor program so we can be prepared in the event of an emergency. Perhaps you have seen our Wall of Heroes in the lobby. Each and every one of those cats and dogs  donated blood to help their fellow pets. They truly deserve our honor and appreciation.

Murray was very courageous during his donation. The process didn't seem to faze him at all. In fact, while he was having his catheter placed, he made biscuits with his paws, purred, and kept trying to roll over for a belly rub! Murray donated a total of 60 milliliters of blood. This blood helped save the life of a very sick 18 year old cat with chronic renal failure and anemia, among many other problems.

In his free time Murray enjoys stealing food off the table, opening doors and cupboards, and even turning on the lamp in the middle of the night when he wants to be fed. He may be a bit of a mischievous imp at home but this loving tabby has made a huge difference for another cat and the family who loves her.

We are always looking for volunteer blood donors here at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care. Pets must meet the following qualifications in order to donate:

  • Must be at least 70 pounds or greater
  • Between 2 to 5 years of age
  • Current on vaccines
  • On heartworm prevention
  • In good health

  • Must be at least 10 pounds or greater
  • Between 2 to 7 years of age
  • FeLV/FIV negative
  • Indoor only
  • Current on vaccines
  • In good health
If you and your pet are interested in being part of this amazing program or if you have any questions, please contact Samantha at

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Pet Tip: October is National Pet Wellness Month

Keeping your pet happy and healthy requires a plan developed by you and your veterinarian that focuses on your individual pet's lifestyle. Regular wellness exams for your pet are important for the same reason a yearly check up with your physician and dentist are important- detecting a problem early on means there is a greater chance of treatment being successful. Early detection and treatment often means less expense will be involved in the long run. The old adage is true, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”!

Working together as a team will help ensure that your pet is protected from injury and disease and enjoys a superior quality of life. A plan starts with routine wellness exams. Your pet's annual wellness visit is for more than just shots! While vaccines help reduce the risk of infectious disease, it takes much more to keep your pet happy and healthy. A full physical can help diagnose, prevent, and treat health problems before they become serious. Wellness exams include an evaluation of your pet’s eyes, ears, teeth, heart, lungs, joints, weight, coat, and more. During the wellness visit, you will also have the opportunity to discuss behavior issues, dietary needs, parasite prevention, and other important health issues.

Call us at 925-866-8387 or email us at to schedule a wellness exam for your pet today!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Primo's Run on Sunday

Primo's Run for Education will take place this Sunday, October 9th in San Ramon. Bishop Drive, where we are located, will be closed off for this event between 7am and 9:30am. Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center will not be available for regular appointments during this time since our parking lot will be inaccessible. However, we WILL be open for emergencies and urgent care starting at our normal Sunday hours of 8am. The city has been instructed to allow cars through to our entrance in case of a pet emergency. Normally scheduled appointments will resume at 9:30am. Please email us at or call us at 925-866-8387 if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you!

Halloween Spooktacular Pet Photo Contest 2011

It's that time of year again! We are now accepting submissions for our Halloween Spooktacular Pet Photo Contest. Send all entries to for a chance to win a 3 month supply of flea prevention (not to mention the fame and the glory)! Photos must be submitted by Wednesday 11/2 and the winner will be announced on Friday 11/4. In the meantime, we will post the entries on Facebook for your viewing pleasure. We can't wait to see your spooky pets!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Halloween Pet Safety by Kristel Weaver, DVM

These days our pets are considered our children.  On Halloween, nothing is cuter than a dachshund in a hotdog costume or a bulldog pirate.  I love dressing up my dogs on Halloween and get quite a laugh when they parade around as a superhero, princess, or clown.  This time of year you can find a rack of pet costumes in almost every pet store.  As an alternative, many people make their own creative pet costumes.  It is fun to include our dogs and cats in this playful holiday.

To keep Halloween a fun event, remember the potential risks.  

If your dogs bark and lunge when the doorbell rings, close them in another room with a food dispensing toy, put up a baby gate, or keep them on leash.  A fearful dog will be terrified of all the noise and costumes and might do better in another room with the television on, to drown out some of the noise.

Keep in mind that chocolate, raisins, and xylitol (a sugar-free sweetener) are toxic to dogs.  Not only is it important to keep the candy out of their reach on Halloween but also in the weeks that follow when kids have candy stashed in their bedrooms, backpacks, and secret hiding places.

Many dogs and cats escape from their homes unnoticed on Halloween.  Make sure they are wearing an identification tag or are microchipped.  Sadly, dogs and cats can be the butt of cruel jokes on Halloween.  Black cats are notoriously targeted.  Keep your dogs and cats inside to avoid any problems.

I hope you and your four-legged friends have a fun Halloween.  Most dogs I know are more than happy to perform a trick to get a treat!

Dr. Kristel Weaver is a graduate of the Veterinary School at the University of California, Davis where she received both a DVM and a Master’s of Preventative Veterinary Medicine (MPVM).  She has been at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care in San Ramon since 2007. She currently lives in Oakland with her husband and their daughter, Hayley. If you have questions you would like Dr. Weaver to answer for future articles, please email