September 28, 2009
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.
April 9, 2009
Living with Feline Leukemia
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.
April 9, 2009
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.
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.”
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
February 20, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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
February 6, 2009
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
Take naps and stretch before rising.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…run right back and make friends.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Run, romp and play daily.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
Routine Health Examinations & Physical examinations are necessary for the health of your pet says American Animal Care Center
January 31, 2009
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).
January 31, 2009
Pets age more rapidly than humans. With the aging process changes occur in the function of the body. Some of these changes can be seen from the outside: weight gain or loss, stiffness, dull haircoat, loss of sight or hearing. Some changes, however, occur internally and can’t be discovered without laboratory testing. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms of illness can be seen, in liver or kidney disease for example, organ damage is already in the advanced stages.
In order to detect organ damage in its early stages, when it can be treated most successfully, we recommend annual blood testing as part of your pet’s yearly physical examination once he or she is over 7-9 years of age. This blood testing can also be used to provide a baseline for comparison in the event of future illness, allowing us to identify changes that may assist in faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Test results serve double duty by providing information before surgery or dental procedures, allowing for safer anesthesia.
Early detection can mean
A longer, healthier
life for your PET.