hurricane

Dr. Salwan: When disaster strikes, rescuers respond

By Dr. Raj Salwan
Oakland Tribune

Posted: 09/14/2009 05:06:15 PM PDT

Updated: 09/14/2009 08:08:40 PM PDT

In the event of natural disasters, millions of people rely on the first responders: police, fire and paramedic squads. Until recently, our animals often were left out of evacuations or rescues.

But today, first responders will have help from some very special animal response teams.

When wildfires ravage the West, the teams are there leading horses and livestock to safety. When floods drown the Midwest, they are there rescuing pets and settling them in temporary shelters. And, when the fierce winds of hurricanes and tornadoes devastate whole communities, once again they are there to help with animal rescue efforts.

“They” are the thousands of volunteers who put aside their jobs and family to help save animals when Mother Nature, or human folly, wreaks havoc.

Finding people to help pets has never been difficult, but recent rough storm seasons and continuing wildfires have taught us that disaster responders and temporary shelters often are woefully unprepared to cope with both people and their pets.

Many animal welfare groups and official Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams often are available to lend aid, but coordination with authorities often is lacking.

Fortunately, a landmark meeting between the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and many other groups has led to a proposed plan to incorporate the animal coalition membersinto emergency operations in the event of a large scale disaster.

This means that there will be an increased level of awareness, coordination and efficiency for dealing with animals during these tragic situations.

And even beyond natural disasters, many of these rescue teams will help with large groups of animals freed from puppy mills; and criminal activities such as dogfighting kennels; or even animal-hoarding cases.

These animal rescuers are unpaid volunteers who sacrifice a great deal to help the four-legged victims of disasters.

Red Star Animal Emergency Services, as an example, has a roster of more than 100 deployable volunteers who have undergone intense training and are able to help with urban searches, flood recovery tasks, and even veterinary surgery capabilities in their specialized “Rescue Rig.”

American Humane Association also asks that their volunteers complete online training through FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute.

Beyond the need for manpower on-site, disasters often mean that local shelters, veterinarians and other animal agencies are low on medicine and supplies. In addition to logistical and delivery problems, purchasing and delivering relief supplies is also a huge challenge.

Thankfully, the pet and veterinary industries have stepped up to answer the call for money and support through public awareness. After the severe 2005 storm season, the Paws to Save Pets program was created along with the Petfinders.com Foundation and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.

We should make sure our family, pets and all, are ready to evacuate. Ask you veterinarian about needed vaccinations, preventive care, and proper identification so that you won’t be caught without these when disaster strikes.

Dr. Raj Salwan, a second-generation veterinarian, has been around veterinary medicine for more than 21 years. He can be reached at  www.americananimalcare.com.

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Salwan: When pets who roam don’t come home
By Raj Salwan
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 08/25/2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Updated: 09/01/2009 08:05:16 AM PDT

WITH our impressive array of technologies, like GPS and “smart” phones, you might think that finding a lost pet is getting easier each year.

Sadly, the odds are still against many missing pets ever making it back home.

Isn’t there some way to ensure that your pet will return safely from his wandering?

Everyone loves the amazing stories of dogs and cats that travel long distances to find their way back home or even locate their owners in a new city.

Unfortunately, these happy tales are the rare exception to the rule. For every pet that makes it back after leaving, there are tens of thousands who never live to see home again.

Humane groups and pet industry experts estimate that more than 5 million pets will be lost this year. One pet in every three will be lost at some point in his or her lifetime.

Of those that roam away from home, less than 17 percent of the dogs and only 2 percent of the cats ever make it back to their owners, according to the American Humane Association.

Sadly, most of the rest will be euthanized in overcrowded animal shelters. Newspapers and online ads still tell the sad story of some youngster’s lost pet every day.

Why do we see a continuation of this problem year after year?

First, despite leash laws and other ordinances, many families are reluctant to chain their dogs or attempt to keep their cats from roaming. This is especially true in rural
areas.

Compounding the issue is that there are more than 200 million pets in North America and only a very small percentage have some form of permanent identification.

ID tags and collars are easily removed by unscrupulous individuals or even by the pet in some instances. Microchips help to ensure that the pet has some means of identification, but even these implants aren’t foolproof.

In fact, it is a rare pet that actually has a microchip. According to industry data, only about 5 percent of all pets in North America have microchips. And even the pets with chips aren’t necessarily any safer.

When owners fail to register their pet properly, reunions are delayed or even prevented in many instances. Again, experts from all major microchip companies state that less than 50 percent of chipped pets are registered with correct and current information.

Other forms of identification, such as tattooing, are very rare and obscure. This fact means that a shelter employee or veterinary office may not even note the presence of a tattoo.

Finally, even though they have good intentions, shelters and rescues are often overwhelmed with pets. A microchip could be missed during a hurried exam, or a description of your lost pet might not match what the employee sees in front of him.

Despite these overwhelming odds, you can proactively help ensure that your pet will make it safely home.

First, like so many things, prevention and preparation go a long way.

Neuter your pet to decrease his roaming urges and consider using both ID tags and a microchip.

We all want our family members to stay close to home and to heart. But, like all children, our pets love exploration and adventure, too.

Work with your veterinarian to make sure all your pets are properly identified with tags and/or microchips.

Dr Salwan is a veterinarian at American Animal Care Center

Living with Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia (FeLV), a widespread, incurable virus that typically suppresses a cat’s immune system, is the most common cause of cancer in cats. Although some cats are able to eliminate the virus on their own and develop immunity, many others die as a result of cancer or opportunistic infections.
      The disease is spread from cat to cat through bites; mutual grooming; and sharing food or water dishes and litter boxes. Kittens can also contract the virus from their mothers.
      FeLV is species-specific, so humans and dogs are not at risk.
      In 2006, the Winn Feline Foundation reported that 3% of cats in single-cat homes were infected with FeLV. Infection rates are dramatically higher among stray cats and in homes where cats are allowed outside.
      FeLV is highly contagious, so it is important to have your cat vaccinated if it could be exposed to other cats. The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends all kittens receive the vaccine.
      Infected cats may harbor the illness for several years with no signs of illness. Over time, they may lose weight, become depressed, or develop a fever. Their coats often deteriorate, and they may develop skin, bladder, or upper respiratory infections.
      Your veterinarian can diagnose the disease by conducting a simple blood test called an ELISA.
      Cats infected with the virus live an average of three years.
      “Many of these cats can live reasonably healthy lives for a number of years if they receive proper care,” says Fred Scott, DVM, PhD, interim director of the Cornell Feline Health Center in Ithaca, N.Y.
      If your cat is infected, good nutrition and a stress-free environment are essential.
      “Your veterinarian will talk to you about the importance of maintaining a balanced diet. Also, he or she will ask you about your cat’s lifestyle and look for ways to reduce stress,” Scott explains.
      Scott strongly recommends that infected cats be kept indoors so they won’t spread the virus. If you have multiple cats, have all of them tested, vaccinate any that are not infected, and consider housing infected cats separately.
      “Your veterinarian will want to see your cat on a more frequent basis [than a healthy cat], say, every six months,” says Scott.
      “Between check-ups, stay alert to your cat’s body condition. Once a month, rub your hand over its ribs. You should be able to feel them, but they shouldn’t stand out.”
      If you notice any changes in your cat’s health or behavior, notify your veterinarian immediately.

American Animal Care Center Upgrades to State-of-the-Art Digital X-Ray System

Animals Including Dogs, Cats, Birds, Rabbits, Rats, Mice, Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas, Iguanas and Exotics Will Benefit From Treatments and Diagnostics Performed at American Animal Care Center in Fremont

  
updated 6:20 p.m. PT, Tues., March. 17, 2009

FREMONT, CA – Veterinary surgeons and other veterinarians at the new American Animal Care Center of Fremont are now armed with advanced medical imaging technology. This will allow them to promptly and more accurately diagnose and treat a variety of injuries and conditions.

Digital x-ray systems provide the fastest, lowest dose x-rays available for all the animals served at American Animal Care Center, so they are exposed to less radiation and pet parents don’t have to wait as long to find out what’s wrong with their family friend. Crystal clear, high resolution images also make diagnoses easier and more accurate.

“We provide the most advanced imaging systems that modern medicine has to offer,” said Dr Raj Salwan. “We believe that this technology represents the future of veterinary medicine for high quality pet health care.”

The Diagnostic Imaging Center at American Animal Care Center utilizes the most advanced tools available to help identify pets’ medical issues, including digital radiology. This leads to more immediate treatment and gives doctors, along with the primary care veterinarians who refer patients to them, the chance to share patient information in a much more time-efficient manner.

Digital x-rays provide quicker, clearer and faster images than film x-ray. A digital x-ray is taken and developed in four seconds, eliminating the need to wait. Digital x-rays also provide a better diagnosis. Like a digital photo, a radiograph can be manipulated after it’s taken so staff can view the image in ways that weren’t possible with film x-ray.

The Diagnostic Imaging Center at American Animal Care Center also uses a variety of sophisticated ultrasound equipment and is one of the few hospitals in Fremont and the Bay Area offering ultrasound services. If your veterinarian has advised that your pet needs advanced imaging procedures, a specialist at American Animal Care Center can help. The American Animal Care Center doctor will provide the best imaging and analyses to confirm the diagnosis, interpret the data and follow up.

For more information visit http://www.americananimalcare.info or visit the Diagnostic Imaging Center at American Animal Care Center at 37177 Fremont Blvd. Fremont, CA 94536.

Contact:
Dr. Raj Salwan
http://www.americananimalcare.org/

Accreditation Matters: Routine Laboratory Tests Expose Hidden Ailments

Heartworm. Urinalysis. Total blood panel.
If you’re like most pet owners, you have at one time or another wondered what all those tests mean. And, more to the point, are they really necessary?
The short answer is Yes — but it is always good to ask.
Veterinarians use lab tests to monitor your pet’s health, diagnose a disease or condition, and measure the effects of a medication or treatment plan.
In some cases, pets must be tested before they can receive necessary treatments. For example, the American Heartworm Society recommends testing pets for heartworms before starting preventive medications and annually thereafter.
Many veterinarians recommend running blood tests at each wellness exam to establish your pet’s baseline of values for various things like protein, enzymes, and electrolytes, and to track changes in those values. This information helps your veterinarian detect developing ailments in their very early stages, often before your pet shows visible signs.

Common Laboratory Tests

Preventive:
Fecal (parasites)
Heartworm
Presurgical
Predental
Puppy/kitten
Geriatric
Electrolytes
Liver/kidney/thyroid function
Total blood panel
Urinalysis

Amy Franklin of Denver, Colo., recently took her 9-year-old Labrador, Beijo, to AAHA-accredited Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center for a complete blood panel before routine dental work.
Such tests are recommended in the AAHA Standards of Accreditation as part of a comprehensive pre-anesthetic plan for dental cleanings and other procedures requiring the use of general anesthetics.
Beijo’s test results revealed a fast-growing mast cell tumor. Mast cell tumors are often fatal because, by the time symptoms appear, the cancer is too advanced to successfully treat. The best chance a pet has of surviving a mast cell tumor is early detection.
Thanks to pre-anesthetic testing, Beijo is cancer-free and sporting clean teeth!
Mary Brussell, a certified veterinary technician who works on the AAHA accreditation team, tells a similar story. Recently she took Reggie, her 9-year-old border collie cross, to AAHA-accredited Mesa Veterinary Clinic, in Golden, Colo., for a geriatric wellness visit, including routine blood work.
Although Reggie appeared healthy, the test results showed elevated kidney values. Christine Horst, DVM, recommended a urinalysis.
The results indicated Reggie was in the early stages of kidney failure. Kidney failure is fatal if left untreated, but because Horst caught the condition in its infancy, and is treating it aggressively, Mary and Reggie will enjoy many more happy years together.

For more information on laboratory tests, including what common tests reveal, ask your veterinarian for the AAHA brochure, Laboratory Testing for Your Pet.

AAHA’s Standards of Accreditation on Laboratory Testing
One-stop testing centers: AAHA requires all accredited practice teams to offer a wide variety of laboratory tests. If your clinic doesn’t perform the tests on-site, it must use the services of an outside laboratory. This means your pet will be able to have the test it really needs, no matter the size of the hospital.
Trained team members. AAHA standards allow only well-trained team members, veterinarians, and veterinary technicians to conduct laboratory tests. Solid training ensures fast, accurate results with minimal retesting, yielding pinpoint diagnoses.
from AAHA

I love American Animal Care Center

I love American Animal Care Center

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet’s surgery and we hope this handout will help. Sometimes surgery is inevitable. The doctors and staff at American Animal Hospital take our responsibilities in surgery seriously and we take every safety precaution possible during all procedures. Our state of the art surgical suites provide us with advanced anesthesia and anesthesia monitoring, and a heated surgical table. We use equipments and supplies found at high quality human hospitals.

The Doctors of AAH are highly-trained professionals and are excellent surgeons. Surgical care and treatment begins upon admission to the hospital and does not end until the animal is fully recovered from his or her procedure. When necessary, a board certified specialist can be consulted or utilized for special or unusual cases.

Is The Anesthetic Safe?

Today’s modern anesthetics and anesthesia monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. We perform a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics to ensure that a fever or other illness won’t be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. Pre-anesthetic blood testing, described below, is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. Animals that have minor dysfunctions will handle the anesthetic better if they get IV fluids during surgery.

Pre Op Instructions

No food after 10pm the evening before surgery (except for rabbits who don’t need to be fasted).
No water or any other liquids after 6.30am the morning of the surgery
Please bring your pet to the hospital between 7am – 10am the morning of the procedure.
You can call us after 3pm to check on his/her condition.
If your pet is to have stitches she will not be able to be bathed for at least 14 days. Therefore, we recommend a bath the day before surgery if this is of concern to you. This will also mean he/she is clean for surgery.

Hospital Admission

On arrival you will be asked to fill in a surgery consent form
The surgery consent form has questions relating to your pet’s health and also explains options and estimated costs of the procedure. Please allow 20 minutes to discuss important information about your pet’s surgery.
If your pet is to have stitches then the estimate will include purchase of an Elizabethan collar
Things to consider on Surgery admission

Pre-Anesethic Blood Testing
Blood tests prior to anesthesia and surgery allow us to assess internal organ function to help reduce anesthetic risks. Internal organ abnormalities can not always be picked up on physical examination.

Intravenous Fluids
Any anesthetic and surgery will reduce your pet’s blood pressure. Intravenous fluids help maintain blood pressure and thereby support your pet’s internal organs, including the kidneys. If you choose this option your pet is placed on fluids in the morning before the procedure and removed in the evening prior to going home.

Pain Relief Medication
Any surgical procedure may cause your pet some post operative pain. Pain relief is given in hospital. We also recommend ongoing pain relief for a few days once you take your pet home from hospital.

The surgery consent form includes an estimate of the cost of your pet’s procedure and we ask you to leave a contact phone number (emergency number) where you can be reached on all day.

Hospital/Surgical Information

Preparation for surgery: Your pet will be given a thorough physical examination and a pre anesthetic pain relief and sedative injection before surgery. After anesthetic induction your pet is connected to monitors and the skin around the surgical area is clipped and scrubbed with antiseptic. All equipment is sterilized and surgery staff scrub with antiseptic and wear appropriate clothing and gloves throughout the operation.

Your pet may also have a small area of hair clipped from a front leg where the intravenous
anaesthetic was injected and where intravenous fluids are given.

Anesthesia: General anesthetic, sedation or both may be used. Some risk is involved depending on your pet’s age and condition and any pre-existing problems.
These risks can be reduced by performing pre anesthetic blood work and putting the patient on IV fluids for the procedure.

Monitoring: Important monitoring of your pet’s heart rate, breathing, temperature, oxygen levels and other parameters will occur throughout the operation and during recovery. Your pet will be connected to a respiratory monitor and pulse oximeter throughout all general anesthesia procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the stomach need to be empty?
If you have had a general anesthetic in the past you will know that a period of fasting is recommended. The same applies to our pets. This is because vomiting can sometimes occur during recovery and the vomitus may be inhaled leading to pneumonia. If the stomach is empty there is less chance of vomiting.

What happens when surgery is over?
Monitoring of your pet starts from the time they are admitted, to anesthetic induction, continues throughout the entire surgery, and goes right throughout the recovery period. After surgery is finished, pets are moved to a comfortable cage with appropriate comfortable bedding where they are supervised as they wake up. Vets and nurses observe your pet’s vital signs closely.

What do I do when I take my pet home?
Your pet may still be a little groggy or sleepy when you get her home. A goods night rest is all that is usually needed so it is important she is kept quiet and comfortable. Do not allow children or other pets to excite her. You will be advised on discharge from hospital on food and water for your pet but you should ensure she doesn’t overeat or drink for the first 24 hours.

We will discuss individual post operative needs on discharge.

These instructions will include recommendation of purchasing an elizabethan collar if your pet has stitches, drains, bandages or open wounds.

Please read and follow these instructions carefully so that your pet has the best chance of a smooth recovery from his/her procedure.

If you have any questions at all then please don’t hesitate to call us on 510-791-0464

Routine Health Examinations Are Necessary!!!

“An ounce of prevention…”

Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? That happens to be as true for the health of your pet as it is for any member of your family!

Annual health examinations will help determine the general well being of your pet and identify potential problems. Early detection ensures prompt action that may solve the problem before serious consequences occur and may prevent suffering.

The gradual onset of health problems in an apparently healthy pet often go unnoticed. Once symptoms appear, the condition may be too difficult or costly to diagnose and treat. Age is not a disease; however, there are many conditions, that if diagnosed early, can be completely reversed or controlled for extended periods of time.

At least once and perhaps twice a year, your pet needs a complete physical examination. Remember, your pet’s lifespan is shorter than ours. A lot can happen in 12 months.

Due to the many recent discoveries and innovations in veterinary medicine, your pet can be protected from most major diseases. Today, many immunizations and preventive treatments are available that did not exist just a few years ago. The staff at American Animal Care Center can help you decide what preventive measures are necessary for your pet(s).

Giardia on the uprise

January 17, 2009

Giardia is on the uprise locally. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. It is also known as “Travellers diarrhea” or “Montezuma’s Revenge.

Giardia is a small protozoan parasite usually transmitted through drinking stagnant water. The disease symptoms are abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, and a severe case of diarrhea. The disease may be difficult to diagnose.

Fortunately the treatment is pretty straight forward. There is a vaccine available for Giardia.

Here is a facility tour of the American Animal Care Center in YouTube!

Check out the new video for American Animal Care Center in Fremont in youtube!