Canine Influenza

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By now you probably know that the Canine Influenza has confirmed cases in Northern California.  Some interesting factoids are:

  • It spreads by air, hands or clothing.  It does live on surfaces for 48 hours. 
  • You can kill the virus by using diluted bleach for 10 minutes. 
  • Symptoms appear about 2-3 days after exposure.
  • Dogs shed the virus before showing signs.
  • Testing should be done within 3-4 days of clinical signs.
  • Symptoms last 2-3 weeks.
  • Most dogs recover on medication without hospitalization.

Symptoms are:

  • A cough
  • Runny eyes and or nose
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • In cats, they have a nasal discharge and congestion, lethargy, lip-smacking and excessive salivation.

If your pet has any of the symptoms, please give us a call.  Do not bring your pet inside the hospital. 

What are the risk factors?  They can include:

  • Going to dog parks
  • Daycare or boarding facilities
  • Groomers
  • Play dates with other dogs
  • Or, dogs that come in contact with other dogs.

If your pet has any of these risk factors, we recommend that you have your pet vaccinated.  Remember that if you decide to keep your pet inside and away from other dogs, you can bring it back to your house on your shoes or clothes.  The vaccine is required for all dogs boarding at Rocklin Road Animal Hospital.  There are tow doses 2-4 weeks apart then yearly.  Maximum immunity is seven days after the second vaccine.  The vaccine that we carry covers the H3N8 and the H3N2.

For more information, please go to or give us a call!

Don't PANIC about your pet's skin

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Pets’ skin conditions can drive an entire household a little crazy with the constant biting, licking and SO. MUCH. SCRATCHING.

But if your pet is suffering from a skin problem, there’s hope. Here are the top 4 things you need to know about your furry friend’s skin.


Dermatology cases are no walk in the park—in fact, it might surprise you to know there are over 160 skin conditions that affect dogs, ranging from curable to incurable. Veterinarians need to understand what is really happening to and within the skin before appropriate therapeutic strategies can be employed. Since it takes a new, healthy skin cell about four weeks to mature and be present near the skin surface, even curable skin diseases may take weeks to resolve. For the incurable cases, controlling an ongoing skin disorder through selected diets, medications, shampoos, sprays, fatty acids and vitamin supplements is the often the best we can do for our pets. But before you panic about how to handle your pet’s skin condition, review the most important things pet owners should know about skin conditions.


Some skin conditions are zoonotic.

What does this mean? Well, whatever’s causing your pooch to scratch may be the same thing that’s bothering your skin. And you should know: The veterinarian’s first priority is ensuring human health above all else. When some pets’ skin conditions are ignored or not addressed immediately, there is a risk of transmission to humans. So if you suspect something is troubling your pet, see your veterinarian in a hurry.

It is important to use antibiotics responsibly.

Antibiotics are not recommended for every skin infection. It is imperative that when your veterinarian prescribes an antibiotic, you finish the entire prescription. Do not try to give a few pills left over from last year when your pet has a skin flare-up—not only is this practice unsafe, it can also build the bacteria’s natural resistance to antibiotics. Together we can reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance.

Ear infections are usually due to allergies.

For a pet that has more than two ear infections in the past year, it is important to ask the why and discuss what could be the underlying triggers with your veterinary team.

Many allergies can be managed.

Allergies don’t have to be treated with a barrage of steroids and antibiotics each time. There are many tools available to treat and manage allergies in pets. It is important to discuss a game plan with your veterinarian so you can be sure your pet is getting the best dermatologic care possible.


How to Create Low-Stress Veterinary Visits for Cats

By | Educational, Guides, Uncategorized


The ominous hissing, the mournful meows, the defensive scratching or biting, the upset bowels-feline stress is just plain unpleasant for cats and you.  Many cats get stressed when it’s time for a veterinary visit.  Thankfully, there are ways to help cats relax and enjoy the ride-yes even in the car.  Here’s what you can do.

 Transport your cat in a carrier

Putting cats in a carrier on the way to and from the veterinary clinic is extremely important.  Cats are often startled by loud noises or other pets, and if you’re carrying your cat in your hands, you might not be able to hold on if it abruptly tries to get away. Also, cats that are allowed to roam freely inside the car face the risk of more severe injury should there be an accident.

Choose a hard-plastic carrier with a removable top

Some cats might resist being put into a carrier.  But removable tops make getting cats into-and out of-the carrier easier.  Simply undo the screws or latches, lift off the top, set the cat in the bottom, and replace the top.  This eliminates the need to force the cat inside, which makes the cat-and you-more relaxed.

Make the carrier a favorite place

Some cats come to love their carriers.  When cats see their carriers as safe, enjoyable places, they’re happy to go into them and feel more safe in scary places, like the car.  Use these strategies to create crate fondness in your cat:

  • Leave the carrier out in your house so your cat can access it at any time.
  • Make the carrier inviting by putting a favorite blanket or toy in it.
  • Every now and then, lay a few treats inside the carrier.

Head to the veterinary clinic for “happy visits”

Does your cat seem to bristle at the thought of visiting the veterinarian?  Then take it on a few stress -free trial runs.  Call the veterinary clinic to ask if the schedule would allow you and your cat to stop in for five or 10 minutes.  You won’t be making a medical visit, but rather a mock appointment that allows your cat to experience all the steps of a routing visit without the physical examination.  This free-of-charge “happy visit” gives your cat the chance to get used to the sounds and smells of the clinic, meet the veterinary team members, and eat a few treats all while enjoying the safety of its carrier.  After some canoodling, you and your cat will head back home.

If a car ride alone puts your cat in a tailspin, entice your cat into its carrier and start by going for a test drive around the block.  Continue to take a drive every now and then, gradually increasing the amount of time you and your cat spend in the car.  Remember to reward your cat with a treat for being a good passenger.  Eventually, you’ll work your way up to doing a drive that will allow you and your cat to make a “happy visit.” Positive reinforcement is the best way to modify feline behavior, so making car rides and veterinary visits pleasant will help decrease your cat’s anxiety.

Your cat threw up? No, it's not normal!

By | Guides, Health, Uncategorized

cat grass

Hairballs are normal, yes, but chances are that’s NOT what’s making your car wretch.

Vomiting is a common and frequently complex problem in cats.  According to Gary Norsworthy, DVM, DABVP (feline practice), the greatest of all feline myths is that vomiting is normal.  It’s not.

If one of your human family members seemed healthy but was vomiting twice a week-or twice a day-would we accept it as normal?  Give up on these excuses:

  • He eats too fast.
  • She has a sensitive stomach.
  • They’re just hairballs, and they are normal.
  • That’s just the way her is; he’s a puker.

Signs of Disease

Gastrointestinal diseases, renal failure, inflammatory or other liver diseases, pancreatitis and even lymphoma can cause chronic vomiting.  Don’t wish away vomiting as probably a hairball-get it checked out by your veterinarian.

Sign of Poisoning

Vomiting that isn’t chronic could be caused by poisoning.  The following substances are the most common household toxins for cats.

  • Plants: Autumn crocus, azalea, cyclamen, kalanchoe, lilies, oleander, dieffenbachia, daffodils, lily of the valley, sago palm, tulips, hyacinths, poinsettias, and amaryllis to name a few.
  • Over the counter medications: Including aspirin, acetaminophen, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Kaopectate, Pepto- Bismol
  • Prescription drugs: Including antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac, Pacil, Celexa and Effexor.
  • Dietary Supplements and vitamins
  • Human food: Onions for example
  • Household cleaners: Drain cleaners, concentrated dishwashing chemicals (including dishwasher tabs), lime-removal products,, oven cleaners and concentrated toilet cleaners pose the biggest threat.
  • Topical flea/tick treatments, flea shampoo and collars: (If your purchase from a veterinary hospital, they are guaranteed!)
  • Essential oils: Often found in potpourri
  • Insecticides and rodenticides

If you fear your cat has ingested a toxin, remove your cat form the area, check to make sure your cat is breathing and acting normally, do not give any home antidotes, do not induce vomiting with consulting a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline, and call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855)764-7661.  If veterinary attention is needed go to your veterinarian.

Importance of a Dental for Your Pet

By | Health, Uncategorized

Cat and toothbrush

Importance of a Dental for Your Pet

Though pets are less likely to develop cavities which are the leading cause of tooth pain and other oral health problems in humans, they can develop serious problems with teeth and gums as well. And besides affecting their dental health, these can also seriously affect your pet’s overall health. To make sure that your pet’s teeth and gums are healthy, you should take your dog or cat to a vet for a dental exam and cleaning at least once a year. Just like in humans, dental problems in pets are a lot easier and less expensive to treat if detected early, not to mention a lot less painful too!

Causes of Dental Problems in Pets

As mentioned earlier, cavities are not as common in pets as in humans. However, both dogs and cats are prone to a host of dental problems which, just like cavities, can cause a lot of pain, tooth loss and even jeopardize their overall health. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of dental problems in pets and besides affecting oral health, it also puts dogs and cats at the increased risk of kidney, liver and heart disease. The good news is that periodontal disease can be both successfully prevented (or at least significantly postponed) and treated with regular dental cleaning and proper oral hygiene. The same goes for other common problems with teeth and gums.

Keeping Your Pet’s Teeth and Gums Healthy

Periodic dental cleaning which involves removal of plaque and tartar combined with regular tooth brushing is the best way to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. Periodontal disease (as well as many other oral health problems) in dogs and cats are caused by plaque and tartar buildup. Unfortunately, the accumulation of plaque and its hardening into tartar can’t be prevented. Therefore it is crucial to have it periodically removed by your vet. In between dental cleanings, you are highly recommended to regularly brush your dog’s or cat’s teeth.

While tooth brushing can’t remove the built-up plaque and tartar, it will dramatically reduce their accumulation. It is recommended to brush your pet’s teeth on a daily basis but even occasional brushing is better than no brushing at all. The majority of dogs eventually allow tooth brushing. Cats, on the other hand, require a lot of patience and persistence.

Dental Cleaning Products not a Replacement for Tooth Brushing

Dental cleaning products including dental toys and treats can help maintain your pet’s dental health, however, they are not a replacement for tooth brushing. Also, not all have the same effect. If you would like to use dental cleaning products, ask your vet for advice.

When to See Your Vet

Even with the best dental care, dogs and cats can develop problems with teeth or gums, or both. If your pet is having any of the symptoms listed below, don’t wait for the annual dental checkup and call your vet right away:

– tooth discoloration
– broken tooth
– bad breath
– loss of appetite
– excessive drooling, difficulty chewing and/or eating
– bleeding from the mouth
– loose teeth
– pain around the mouth
– lumps in the mouth

When you have a question about your pet’s health, what should you expect when you call your veterinarian?

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During the chaos of our days, many of us find ourselves asking why things can’t just be easier. For example, you come home from work and your dog is acting “funny.” Can’t your veterinarian just help you over the phone? The kids will be home soon, you have to start dinner, and there’s no way you’ll make it up to the clinic before it closes. The truth is, your veterinarian always wants you to call when something is going on with your pet, but legally and ethically there may only be so much he can do without examining the animal. Read this article to better understand what your veterinarian can help you with over the phone and when it’s better just to come on in.

What should I do? Sparky has diarrhea.

Here’s the problem, legally a veterinarian must establish a relationship with you and your pet in order to treat the animal, and that requires a physical exam. New client: So, if your veterinarian has never seen your pet—forget it. There is no prior relationship and therefore “treating” the pet over the phone is against the law. Existing client: Say you and your pet have a relationship with your veterinarian, but there hasn’t been a physical exam in regard to this new condition. It’s often very difficult to describe things over the phone and be confident that you and your veterinarian understand things in the same way. However, Heather Lewellen, DVM, says if she had recently seen the patient for something related, then she might feel more comfortable advising over the phone. “For example, if I started the dog on antibiotics for a skin infection and it develops diarrhea, I might be able to talk them through it over the phone, but I would still rather see it.”

That rash hasn’t gone away.

Calling about an existing condition the pet has recently been seen for by the veterinarian, opens the door a bit. As long as the veterinarian client-patient relationship is well established and the animal has been examined for that problem, it’s up to what the veterinarian is comfortable with. Refilling (or even switching) medication, giving further advice and making recommendations (such as removing a bandage or feeding a bland diet) is fairly common.

Should I take Sparky to the ER?!?

Lewellen says the safe rule is if you think it’s an emergency—it is. Your veterinarian can direct you to the nearest veterinary hospital or will advise you to come into the clinic. However, if you are unsure if your pet’s condition is an emergency, your veterinarian can’t give you advice over the phone. She will recommend you come in and may ask questions regarding gum color, hydration, breathing rates or your pet’s attitude to help confirm if your pet needs immediate medical attention

Train Your Dog Month

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This January, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) will organize the sixth annual Train Your Dog Month with an aim to promote proper dog training by providing information, advice and resources as well as holding various events throughout the United States. The goal is to raise public awareness about the importance and benefits of dog training and socialization, and encourage dog owners (and those who are about to become dog owners) to ensure that their furry friends get proper training from the start. But the APDT also wants for the public to realize that dog training can also be fun, rewarding and enjoyable – for both dogs and their owners.

Training and Socialization Essential for a Happy, Balanced and Well Mannered Dog

It is never too late for dog training and to teach your pet good manners, correct misbehavior, help him get along better with other dogs, etc. But the sooner the dog is trained the better. Ideally, training and socialization should start early in puppyhood in order for the dog to learn to behave around other dogs and people in different environments. Since the skills and manners developed during young age stick for a lifetime, puppy training and socialization are essential to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe during adulthood as well.

In addition to learning good manners and to behave around other dogs and people in different environments, puppy training and socialization also help the dog learn to stay out of trouble and avoid finding himself in potentially dangerous situations. For example, well trained dogs are much less likely to run away, be aggressive to other dogs or prone to other behavior issues which can put them at serious risk of injury or even death. This is because a well trained dog knows what is expected from him, how to behave in particular situations and most importantly, how to interact with other dogs and people. As a result, a well trained dog is calmer, more confident and happier.

Having Fun While Training Your Dog

Dog training offers a lot of fun for both dogs and their owners, of course, under the condition that it’s done by following proven and dog-friendly training techniques. During the Train Your Dog Month, dog owners will have the opportunity to learn how fun training can be at various events and webinars, get information and advice on finding the best training classes as well as learn useful tips and tricks on how to make training more fun and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

About the APDT

The APDT is a professional educational organization with more than 6,000 members from around the world who are aspiring to become better dog trainers by using scientifically tested and proven training techniques. It was founded as a trainers’ forum by English-American veterinarian and dog trainer Dr. Ian Dunbar (born 1947) in 1993 but over the following two decades, it has grown into the world’s largest trainers’ association. The APDT also works on promoting the importance and benefits of dog training to the public by providing information, advice and resources as well as organizing events such as Train Your Dog Month which has been held every January since 2010.

Christmas Dangers for Dogs

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Christmas is a happy time for most dogs. The entire family is together, everyone is in a festive mood, there are all sorts of goodies to eat, … But there are also all sorts of dangers lurking around every corner. To prevent painful and potentially life threatening accidents, and save yourself a trip to the veterinarian during the holidays, beware of Christmas dangers for dogs and take the necessary precautions. Some of the most common dangers and ways to reduce the risk of injury include:

– Christmas decorations and ornaments. They are intended to look pretty and create that special festive atmosphere, however, they can be very dangerous for your dog. Christmas decorations and ornaments such as Christmas tree baubles, tinsels, ribbons, lights, candles, wrapping paper, etc. don’t pose an immediate threat to your pet but they are a very common cause of veterinary visits during the holidays.

For example, baubles which are often made of glass or other fragile material can cause serious injuries to your dog’s mouth, intestines or other internal organs if chewed or/and swollen. Also, they pose a choking hazard. The same goes for tinsel, ribbon and many other popular Christmas decorations and ornaments. Christmas tree lights, on the other hand, can cause electric shock if chewed, while burning candles can lead to potentially severe burns, not to mention the risk of a potentially very serious fire. So make sure that potentially dangerous Christmas decorations and ornaments are out of reach of your dog.

– Holiday foods and treats. It’s perfectly normal to feel the need to give your dog a special treat during the holidays. Unfortunately, many holiday foods and treats are dangerous for your furry friend. Chocolate, nuts, onions, grapes and other popular Christmas choices are difficult to digest or even toxic for dogs, while many can also cause choking, internal damage, obstruction or other forms of health problems. So resist the temptation to give your dog special treats during Christmas.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested something potentially poisonous, contact your vet immediately. The most common symptoms of food poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy and seizures. Also, call your vet immediately if your dog appears to be choking.

– Christmas tree and other popular holiday plants. Believe it or not, but many popular holiday plants are poisonous and can cause a potentially deadly poisoning if ingested. Fortunately, this doesn’t count for Christmas tree although pine tree needles can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested. Also, they can get stuck in your pet’s paws and cause a major discomfort, irritation or injury. You are therefore recommended to vacuum the needles on a daily basis.

Ingestion of plants such as Holly, Poinsettia or Mistletoe, all of which are very popular during the holiday season, is another Christmas danger for dogs as all the mentioned plants are toxic. The good news is that they are not very toxic although some Christmas plants can be deadly if ingested in small amounts. To reduce the risk of poisoning, check plants for toxicity before bringing them home and keep all poisonous (or potentially poisonous) plants out of reach of your dog.