Finding a good veterinarian is hard.  We have made a checklist for you to compare veterinarians when you are looking for a new veterinarian:

1. Is the Veterinarian AAHA Accredited?

You can search on http://www.healthypet.com.  The top veterinary hospitals in the country tend to be AAHA accredited. This association has been the premier authority on accreditation in the United States.  AACC is AAHA Accredited.

2. How long has the business been in operation? Is this a brand new venture or is it an established business?

We have been in business since 1986.

3. Is the animal hospital a national corporation? Are they family owned? How does the animal hospital give back to the community?

American Animal Care Center gives tens of thousands back to local non-profits in the Tri-City areas.  We started with humble roots and have been a product of Fremont’s success. Community service and giving back are one of the pillars of values at American Animal Care Center. We were awarded small business of the year by the 20th assembly district.

4. Is the animal hospital available when I am? Are they open on weekends? Are they open in evenings? Do they offer early morning drop offs?

American Animal Care Center is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year including weekends and evenings.

Here’s more on why American Animal Care Center is the best veterinarian in the bay area.

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.

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.

No more pilling fights?
One-Shot Antibiotic Makes Life Easier

If you search YouTube for the word pill with cat or dog, you’ll get about 500 hits, ranging from silly spoofs to instructional videos that are painfully, unintentionally hilarious.
But administering daily pills to your cat or dog is no fun at all. As a matter of fact, it is so difficult that many pet owners give up.
Of course when treatment is cut short, illnesses may linger or worsen. And if the discontinued pill is an antibiotic, the threat is even broader.
If you prematurely stop giving your pet an antibiotic, some bacteria will survive and develop a resistance to the medication. This is one cause of the much-publicized increase in virulent, antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In June, Pfizer, a leading veterinary drug manufacturer, introduced Convenia, the only single-injection antibiotic available for pets.
Used to treat certain types of skin infections in dogs and cats, Convenia has the potential to make life a lot easier for affected pets and their owners. One injection delivers a full, two-week course of antibiotics and eliminates the need for oral medication.
That should do away with the pill fights. No worries. That still leaves about 35,000 cat and dog videos on YouTube.
AAHA

Of the 10 million pets that get lost each year, only 17% of the dogs and 2% of the cats are ever recovered.
“But Fluffy is an indoor kitty,” you may be thinking. “She doesn’t need an ID tag.”
Think again.
A study conducted by Linda Lord, DVM, PhD, an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, found that 41% of people looking for their lost cats considered them indoor-only pets.
“They may not go outside, but it only takes one time to lose a pet,” warns Daniel Aja, DVM, of AAHA-accredited Cherry Bend Animal Hospital in Traverse City, Michigan. “You might have cleaners over, workers who are remodeling, or kids who leave the door open. And indoor pets are probably the most at risk because once they get outside, they’ll get scared and run and hide.
“Also, you never know when a natural disaster might strike. Think about the thousands of animals that were displaced by Hurricane Katrina or by the flooding we’re experiencing most recently in the Midwest.”
That’s why Aja recommends every dog or cat be microchipped. The chips are implanted by veterinarians and cost between $30 and $70.
“It’s a simple procedure that only takes a few seconds,” he explains. “It’s similar to a vaccination, except we insert a chip the size of a grain of rice under the pet’s skin. There’s no need for anesthesia. Your pet may make a little yelp, but it’s just like getting another shot.”
In almost every case, microchips are good for the life of your dog or cat. Millions of animals have been chipped in the past decade with very few side effects. The sterile microchip does not contain a battery and is hermetically sealed with FDA-approved silica glass to prevent leakage.
“If your pet ever gets lost and is picked up by a good Samaritan or an animal control agency, it can be scanned at an animal shelter or veterinary clinic,” says Stephen Barabas, DVM, senior manager of veterinary affairs at Schering-Plough HomeAgain, one of five companies that distributes microchips within the United States.
“If a microchip is under the skin, the scanner will display its unique identification code. Then the clinic or shelter will simply contact the manufacturer or distribution company based on the code of the microchip. The company’s database is searched for the animal’s ID number and the pet owner is contacted.”
Some microchip companies provide additional services such as alerting local veterinary clinics and animal shelters when a pet is reported lost. Barabas says that more than 500,000 pets have been recovered by HomeAgain, more than 95,000 in 2007 alone.
Because the owner’s contact information is stored in the database, rather than on the chip itself, the chip does not need to be replaced each time the owner moves, or if the pet is adopted by someone else.
Unfortunately, some pet owners — as many as 50% — fail to enter their information into the database when the pet is microchipped, rendering the chip useless.
“Don’t assume your veterinarian has done this for you,” says Aja. “Some pet hospitals may fill out this paperwork, but many do not. Also, be sure you notify your microchip company whenever you move or change phone numbers or they won’t be able to track you down.”
He adds, “[A microchip] doesn’t replace the need for a collar tag. In fact, many of these animals are reunited because their collars tell the finder that the pet has been microchipped. That triggers the finder to take the pet to a shelter or veterinarian to have it scanned. That’s why almost all the microchip companies now provide tags for your pet. It really helps speed the process.”
Finally, a microchip is not a global positioning system.
“I had a client come to our office this week who wanted me to tell him where his dog was,” Aja says. “He thought I could check my computer and provide the exact location. Some day we may be able to do that. But, today’s chips are not powered. It’s a radio frequency that’s triggered when you run the scanner over the top of them.”
From Petsmatter, AAHA

2008 was a very bad year for infectious diseases in the bay area. We saw more cases of parvo, kennel cough, upper respiratory infection, cat aids, and leukemia. Perhaps, as the economy worsens people are foregoing examinations and vaccinations. This lack of vaccination affects all pet owners as herd health immunity is decreased.

Vaccinations for dogs include DHLPP (Distemper-Hepatitis-Leptospirosis-Parainfluenza-Parvovirus), Corona, Bordetella (Kennel Cough), Giardia, Rabies, & Lyme Disease.

Vaccinations for cats include FVRCP, Cat Leukemia, Fip, Rabies, Giardia, & FIV.

Please discuss vaccinations, examinations, and other preventive care with the veterinary health care team.