Monday, June 25, 2012

Lives Saved: Tucker Klopp by Megan Klopp

Age: 4 years
Breed: Newfoundland
Diagnosis: Heatstroke 

On September 15, 2010 Tucker and I set out for Starbucks -- a common and often visited destination of ours. It was a warm day, but not unusually hot -- he has walked in much hotter conditions many times before so I did not think the weather was a problem when I checked the temperature. 

Upon returning home, Tucker was drooling and panting as he always does, but he was walking abnormally and was non responsive when I talked to him. I feared heatstroke as I had just read about it the day before at our vet's office. We immediately hosed him down to cool him off as much as possible and lifted our unresponsive 140 lb dog (this was so difficult emotionally and physically) into the car and rushed him to our vet's office, Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center. When we got there, they were waiting for us in the parking lot with a stretcher! His temperature was at least 110 degrees – the thermometer only goes to 110 so it may have been higher! Dr. Michele Dodd and her team were very concerned and honest in telling us that they have never seen a dog survive this condition with this high of a temperature -- the situation was grave and his survival did not look promising -- but they would do everything they could to save him! 

Over the next two days he was in critical condition as his organs/system had shut down and he was bleeding internally – unable to clot. He was on numerous machines, getting IV's and Plasma units around the clock; it was serious and very frightening. 

The entire hospital staff could not have been more kind, sensitive, thorough, patient and concerned for Tucker. We received frequent phone calls with updates from the doctors and nurses and there was always someone available to talk to in the middle of the night when I would call unable to sleep. They let us visit him whenever we wanted and we would stay with him as long as we liked. Dr. Dodd was incredibly professional -- going the extra mile -- she even consulted with holistic doctors for other healing options. I know Tucker was not her only patient but she sure made us feel like he was! 

By the third day, we were so thankful to learn that Tucker was going to survive -- only time would tell if he would have any long-term health concerns. He remained at the hospital for another three days until his vitals were consistent and he was healthy enough to come home. 

We are truly so thankful and blessed that Tucker had the care he received as he would likely not be with us today if he had been elsewhere. Thanks to everyone at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center, we still have our sweet beast! Tucker enjoys going to the hospital and seeing all his friends and fans! Each time he does he reminds them that because of their efforts and care, he is a "survivor"! 
Tucker is keepin' cool!

Microchipping Your Pet

Accidents happen. The gate isn’t closed all the way, a guest leaves the door open a moment too long, you forget to shut the screen. It only takes a second. What about a natural disaster? In California we don’t have to contend with hurricanes and tornadoes but we do have earthquakes.  

One thing you can do to help ensure your pet’s return is to have them microchipped.  People often bring in missing pets to our office to be scanned for microchips. The pets with a registered chip are usually reunited with their ecstatic owners the same day if not within minutes. Pets without microchips or current ID tags end up having to stay the night at the shelter where, hopefully, their loving family will locate them. A microchip, in combination with a collar and current ID tag is the best way to be sure your pet will come home again.

The facts do not lie:

  • 30-60% of lost pets in shelters are euthanized because they cannot be properly identified and returned to their owner.  Only about 14% of dogs and 4% of cats who end up in shelters are returned to their rightful owners.

  • Less than 25% of all animals that enter shelters are adopted by new owners.

  • About 2 million pets that are reported missing each year may be victims of theft.

  • Collar tags are a great way to identify lost pets and reunite them with their owners, but they can easily come off or be removed.

  • Tattoos are difficult to remove from an animal, but they are still not 100% reliable. Tattoos can be altered, fade, or blur, and are not always easy to read.

  • Reading a microchip is far easier than trying to read the tattoo of a frightened stray animal.

  • Microchipping is permanent, completely unalterable, and does not change or harm the appearance of the animal in any way.  The procedure is safe, inexpensive, fast and virtually painless for the animal.

  • There are about 50,000 microchip scanners currently in use by shelters, veterinarians, and municipal organizations in the U.S.

Recently the development of microchip implants to assist in pet identification has become widespread. These are small chips, about the size of a grain of rice. Each chip has its own unique number encoded in it, which can be detected with a hand-held scanner. 

The procedure is simple: with a pet completely awake the chip is injected with a syringe under a pet’s skin over the back of the neck like any other injection. This may be done at the same time that other injections, such as immunizations, are given and takes no more time to do than a regular injection.

Each microchip comes with a registration form that Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care will fill out for the pet owner and submit to the national registry. This will register their pet and link it with the code number for that microchip. In the event that the pet is subsequently lost and taken to an animal shelter the microchip can be scanned there to identify who the pet is so it can be returned quickly to its owner.

Dogs and cats of any age can receive a microchip. After implantation the microchip remains in place under the skin for life. It is so small that in most pets it cannot be detected at all without the use of a scanner. Microchips have not been shown to cause irritation to the skin where injected.

An office visit fee is not required in order to have a microchip implanted in your pet. Please contact us at 925.866.8387 or email us at with any questions about microchips. We will be happy to help you! For more information about the HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service, please visit on the World Wide Web.

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

The Fourth of July is the perfect summer celebration - warm weather, a day off work, delicious barbecued food, plus friends, family, and fireworks! It's hard to find a more winning combination which is why it is not a surprise that the Fourth of July is a favorite holiday for many people; for our pets, however, it is a different story. All the excitement, activity, tempting foods, and loud noises can cause stress, sickness, and fear in our furry companions.  Here are some tips on how to help your pet stay safe and stress-free on the Fourth of July.

  • Set your pet up in a safe and secure room. This is especially important if you are having a party. This room should be off-limits to guests. Set it up so that it is quiet and escape proof with plenty of fresh water. Place their favorite things in the room such as toys and a bed and if you have a cat, make sure to include a litter box. This should be a place for your pet to feel secure when things get noisy as the night goes on. Some people like to leave a TV or radio on to provide familiar sounds for their pet and to help drown out the noise of the fireworks. 

  • One way to potentially counteract the anxiety a pet may feel during fireworks is to make sure you exercise them and tire them out just before the activities start. Take your dog to a park to run around (as long as it's not too hot) or for a swim in the pool. Use a laser pointer to encourage your kitty to play and run throughout the house. A tired pet is often more relaxed and may be less stressed by the loud noise of fireworks. 

  • Speaking of fireworks, do not take your dog to a firework display or use street fireworks around them.
  • Make sure your pet has a collar with a current ID and is micropchipped! Many pets get scared during fireworks and end up running away. Every year, a large number of lost pets are reported on the Fourth of July. It is common for indoor cats and dogs to slip out an open door during a backyard barbecue or cookout. Collars with current ID tags and a microchip give you that extra layer of protection and ups the odds of a missing pet returning to your loving arms. Microchip placement is a quick and easy procedure done with a technician - call us today to schedule and give yourself peace of mind.

  • Beware of barbecue and party food for your pet! Dogs are especially inclined to want to eat people food. There are plenty of dangers that come from pets eating greasy, sugary, and fatty human food  - including pancreatitis, a dangerous illness that can lead to several days of hospitalization. Bones present choking hazards as well as possible gastrointestinal obstruction. If you notice your pet acting lethargic and/or vomiting please call us right away. Some human food such as grapes, raisins, onions, alcohol, and anything containing xylitol are toxic to pets. Make sure you let your guests know they are not to feed table scraps to your pets. (Better yet, keep your pets in the aforementioned safe room!)

  • Plan ahead and call your veterinarian this week if you are concerned about your pet's well being during fireworks. They may recommend a mild sedative. Talking with your vet ahead of time allows you to perform a trial run to make sure you know the correct dosage for your pet.

Remember - we are here when you need us! We will be open on the  July 4th from 8am to 8pm for emergencies and regularly scheduled appointments. Call us at 925.866.8387 or email us at to schedule an appointment. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about the upcoming holiday - being prepared is always the best form of prevention!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fun Friday Video: Pug Puppy Playtime

Happy Friday everyone! Here is a fun video of squishable, lovable, adorable pug puppies! Thanks to our client Lucia for sharing this with us. 

We now present for your viewing pleasure Olivia's Puppies:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month!

Did you know? According to the ASPCA:  
  • An estimated 3 to 4 million animals are euthanized in shelters every year.
  • 7 out of 10 cats in shelters are destroyed simply because there is no one to adopt them.
  • It is estimated there are roughly 70 million stray cats in the United States today.
You can help make a difference to a cat that needs a loving home. Older cats are especially in need of rescue since they are less likely to be adopted. If you have the time and the resources, consider opening your heart and your home to a special furry feline longing to be loved.

When you adopt a cat from a shelter Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care will examine your new family member at no fee! Just bring in your adoption paperwork within two weeks of the adoption date to be eligible. If you are considering bringing a new pet into your home, check out the ASPCA's Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting as well as The Top 10 Things To Do Before Bringing Your New Cat Home

The East Bay SPCA also has some extra special promotions this month
to encourage cat adoption. These include an Adoption Fee Option where you choose whether you pay  $25.00, $50.00, $75.00 or $100.00; a Free Cat Friday for one Friday in June where adoption fees will be waived for all cats 6 months of age and older; and Cool Cat Extras (courtesy of Pet Food Express) - every adopted cat in June goes home with a toy, a can of cat food, and a 20% off coupon to Pet Food Express! Click here for more information about this awesome promotion!

Birdie, Charlie Girl, and Echo
If you are interested in checking out local cats available for adoption come meet Birdie, Charlie Girl, and Echo at East Bay SPCA's Dublin Adoption Center, 4651 Gleason Drive, Dublin, CA 94568. To see other cats available for adoption, please visit or call 925.479.9670. We will be featuring cats available for adoption from the East Bay SPCA all month on our Facebook page. Please help us spread the word and find these beautiful, sweet felines their forever homes!     

Monday, June 4, 2012

Kennel Cough

A story aired on the local news this weekend about an El Sobrante veterinary hospital that had to shut down its boarding facility due to a particularly virulent strain of kennel cough. Since then we have received several inquiries regarding kennel cough and the best way to protect against it. We wanted to take the opportunity to address the issue and respond to some of the more frequently asked questions.

Has Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care seen any dogs with kennel cough recently?
Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care follows routine protocols to minimize the spread of infectious disease even before clinical signs may be visible. We do not currently have any outbreaks of kennel cough here and have not treated any recent cases of kennel cough from any of the local boarding facilities.

What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough is a broad term covering any infectious or contagious condition of dogs where coughing is one of the major clinical signs. Kennel cough is air borne and socializing causes the viruses and bacteria to spread. This is why it is often seen in dogs who have recently boarded, hence the name "kennel cough".  But boarding facilities are not the only places that dogs are at risk for contracting kennel cough - grooming facilities, dog parks, and dog shows can also contribute to the spread of the virus.

While kennel cough itself may be considered a "mild" condition, pets with coughs should be monitored closely for any additional symptoms, such as: lack of appetite, lethargy, a cough that worsens or changes, vomiting, and diarrhea. A combination of any of these symptoms may indicate more serious conditions such as pneumonia. If your dog is coughing the best thing to do is have him checked by a veterinarian.

How do I protect my dog?
The vaccine for kennel cough is called Bordetella and it is recommended for all dogs that interact with other dogs. The vaccine provides protection but it does not guard against all strains and forms of kennel cough. This is why a dog can still contract kennel cough - even if they have been vaccinated. While this current outbreak seems far away, it is still in Contra Costa County and the safe thing to do for the time being would be to avoid unnecessary socializing with other dogs - including dog parks and grooming facilities. Make sure your dog is vaccinated.

It is a privilege to serve pet owners who are so proactive in regards to their pet's health. Asking questions and being on the alert is important to preventive health care. We are here when you need us; so please do not ever hesitate to pick up the phone when you have a question: 925.866.8387. Our goal is to work with you as a team to keep your pet healthy and happy.

Ask the Vet - Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV) AKA Canine Bloat by Kristel Weaver, DVM, MPVM

I just adopted a Great Dane puppy and my breeder mentioned some precautions to prevent bloat.  What is bloat?

Bloat, or gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), is when the stomach fills with gas and flips over. This twists blood vessels, blocks blood flow and traps gas. The gas and pressure builds up, forcing the stomach to expand. Within a few hours or less the stomach is extremely stretched and hard, and the stomach tissue begins to die. Circulation is cut off, causing the dog to go into shock. Without emergency treatment GDV is fatal. Even with aggressive therapy, some dogs do not survive.

 What does a dog with GDV look like?

Dogs with GDV are very uncomfortable – as you can just imagine! They act restless and try to vomit but nothing comes up. As their stomachs fill with gas, their abdomen appears bloated just behind the ribs. If you think your dog has these symptoms, regardless of the breed, take him or her to your veterinarian immediately.

What causes GDV and what breeds are at risk?

No one knows exactly what cause GDV. Past cases show the biggest risk factor is a big, deep chest. The risk increases as a dog gets older and the ligaments around the stomach stretch out. The breed most at risk is the Great Dane; about 2 out of every 5 have GDV. Some other breeds at risk are St. Bernards, Setters, Weimaraners, Standard Poodles, German Shepherds, and the list goes on.

What can be done to prevent GDV?

A surgery called a gastropexy can prevent GDV. In it, the stomach is sewn to inside of the body wall, preventing it from flipping over. This surgery can be done safely with either a laparoscope or traditional surgical method. It's typically done at the same time a deep-chested or large breed dog is spayed or neutered. Aside from a gastropexy, there is no guaranteed method to prevent GDV. Another factor to consider is that emergency GDV treatment and surgery can range from $3000 to $7000, depending on the hospital, while a preventive laparoscopic gastropexy is about a third of that cost.
If you're concerned about bloat, talk to your veterinarian about a gastropexy. In my opinion, it is absolutely worth the peace of mind!  

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

Friday, June 1, 2012

Baby Animal Pet Photo Contest Winners

It is the moment everyone has waited for; the doctors and staff of Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care have cast their votes and the results are in. It was an incredibly tough contest to judge, and we truly LOVED every single picture. In the end we decided to pick one dog and one cat to share first place. 

And the winners are: Italia and Pixel!!!!!!!! 

Both pets will receive a $25 gift certificate for veterinary services. Honorable mentions must go to our two runner-ups: Bosco and Purrsy; it was truly neck and neck! Thank you everyone for sharing your photos with us - it brought joy to our hearts! You can view all the entries here.
The Winners: Italia and Pixel

Honorable Mention: Bosco
Honorable Mention: Purrsy