Digatherm: Your Pet’s Health in Living Color

If you were to see a digital thermal image of your cat or dog, you might want to put it on a wall. It’s an eye-catching, multi-colored, infrared picture—of the inflammation and circulation throughout your pet’s body.

This image is also a powerful visual tool for helping veterinarians diagnose injury and illness and is now available at De Valle Pet Hospital! Digital thermal imaging—also known as thermography or Digatherm—doesn’t depict temperature but instead shows a visual picture of inflammation or lack of circulation, eliminating guesswork.

Digatherm is also non-invasive, non-destructive and inexpensive—just $20 per scan. Most importantly, this tool can help make laser therapy more efficient and effective for conditions such as:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Lameness
  • Malignancies
  • Fractures
  • Neurological issues
  • Vascular Dysfunction
  • Infections

If you’d like to know more about Digatherm and how it might help your pet, get in touch with us at 925-230-9422.

Ratting Out Poisons That Can Kill Your Pet

Ratting Out Poisons That Can Kill Your Pet

When you see multiple animals in one day who are in danger of being severely ill from the same cause, you know there’s a problem.

The veterinarians at Del Valle recently saw three pets in one morning who had ingested rat poison or snail bait. Even if the box says “pet safe”, the ingredients in these products can be deadly for dogs and cats as well as the pests you want to exterminate. These pets could have been seriously sickened had their owners not brought them in right away for treatment.

We understand that getting rid of rodents and snails in your home and garden is important. However, if any of the following active ingredients are present in the product or trap, you don’t want it in your home with your resident animals—or small children, for that matter.  Continue Reading

Rattlesnake season: is your pet protected?

Help the Bark Avoid the Bite

If getting into the great outdoors with your dog is on your to-do list, a rattlesnake vaccination for your pet should be on that list as well.

As the weather gets warmer, snakes will become more active and there’s a good chance you’ll encounter one basking in the sun. Rattlesnakes aren’t confined to rural areas, however—they can be found in cities, suburban parks, and riverside areas.

To decrease the risk of being bitten, it’s a good idea to stick to well-used trails, keep your dog leashed, and don’t hike alone. It’s also important not to let your dog sniff or step where you can’t see, such as around rocks, brushy areas, and downed logs.

Rattlesnake venom is extremely dangerous as it causes excessive swelling and death of the tissue surrounding the wound. Baby rattlesnakes, which are very common in spring, pack an even deadlier bite as they release all their available venom at once rather than rationing it out like adults.

To lower the risk these bites pose to pets, Del Valle Pet Hospital highly recommends having dogs vaccinated against rattlesnake venom. Because the vaccine can only reduce the severity of symptoms, bites should always be treated immediately at the closest veterinary emergency facility.

To schedule your pet’s vaccination, make an appointment online or by calling us at 925-230-9422.

Keeping Pets Safe in the Car in Summertime

With the weather reaching its summer highs, Del Valle Animal Hospital wants to make sure that you and your family remain safe.

With the weather reaching its summer highs, Del Valle Pet Hospital wants to make sure that you and your family remain safe. Each year, an average of 37 children and hundreds of pets die due to car-related heat stroke. Tragically, nearly all of these are preventable.

Even on mild days temperatures soar inside vehicles, often rising more than 20F in minutes and continuing until reaching staggering numbers. On 90F day, car temperatures can reach well above 135F, entering fatally hot numbers within an hour. Because of their smaller bodies and poor cooling mechanisms, pets and children heat up much faster than adults, allowing heatstroke to occur quickly. Symptoms rapidly progress from flushed, dry skin, to vomiting and seizures, organ failure and death. Precautions like cracking a window or leaving drinking water in the car are woefully ineffective. It is never acceptable to leave your child or pet alone in a car.

As a bystander, if you see a pet or child alone in vehicle, call 911 immediately. Emergency personnel are trained to handle these situations, but the time it takes for them arrive could be the difference between life and death.

If you have questions for your Del Valle Pet Hospital veterinarian, stop by our veterinary hospital in Livermore or call 925-230-9422 to schedule an appointment.

Introducing Baby to Your Pet

Introducing Baby to Your Pet

Of the many changes a new baby brings to life, it is easy to overlook how this new addition to your family can affect your pets. The bond between pet and a child is deep and rewarding, but needs to be carefully managed from the beginning. Here are some useful tips to help your pet safely get to know, and grow to love, your new child.

  • Make your pet familiar with your baby’s scent. Prior to bringing your child home from the hospital, take an article of his or her clothing and calmly present it to your pet, letting them sniff it from a distance before letting them examine it up close. It is important that your pet learns to associate the smell with positive feelings and reinforcement, beginning the process of training your pet to respect the baby.
  • Establish boundaries around the nursery. Condition your pet to understand that nursery, or place when your infant will spend the most time, is off-limits and they may only enter with your permission.
  • Control the first meeting. The first time your pet and baby meets should be calm and positive, establishing good experiences from the start. Reward good behavior like cautiously approaching the baby, gentle movements, or responding to obedience cues with treats. Make sure your pet has burned off excess energy by taking them for a walk beforehand.
  • The first few weeks are important. Continue to reward your dog for good behavior around your child. This will teach them to associate being tranquil with positive reinforcement. Make sure they have extra toys available so they don’t play with the baby’s belongings.
  • Never leave your child alone with your pet. Your baby’s crying and sudden movements may make your pet nervous and force them to lash out. Because they are so small, pets may hurt them, even if they aren’t intending to.

If you have questions for your Del Valle Pet Hospital veterinarian, stop by our veterinary hospital in Livermore or call 925-230-9422 to schedule an appointment.

Meet RW, Pet of The Month

RW Pet of the Month

Meet RW, he is a 4yr old Snowshoe mix cat. He recently came into our hospital for blood in his urine, at that time Dr. Rensink noticed that he had severe gingivitis and halitosis, causing his gum tissue to be very irritated, raw, and painful. It was recommended that RW have a dental procedure. RW came back in for a dental cleaning and full mouth x-rays. We determined that he suffered from a condition called Stomatitis, this is where the gum tissues are allergic to the enamel of the teeth causing the severe gingivitis, inflammation, and discomfort. We recommended full mouth extractions as this is the preferred option to treat this disease. RW had to have most of his teeth, 12 total, removed, except for the 4 K9 teeth and the small front teeth. He woke up from anesthetic very well and perky. Less than 24 hours after his procedure his owners called to inform us he was doing great!! He seemed to be feeling much better, increased appetite, comfortable, and purring! Since doing the procedure recommended by Dr. Rensink and Dr. McCool, RW and his family are living life more comfortably and happy, his family reports that he used to be lethargic and seemed sad, now pet jumps up into their laps wanting attention and love all the time. Mom says “He has a whole new personality!”

If you have questions for your Del Valle Pet Hospital veterinarian, stop by our veterinary hospital in Livermore or call 925-230-9422 to schedule an appointment.

Signs Your Pet is Overheating

Pets have a difficult time staying cool during the hot summer months. This means they are at increased risk of dehydration and heat stroke. As an owner, it is important you take the necessary precautions to ensure your cat or dog is safe this summer.

  • Always have abundant fresh, clean water readily accessible to your pet.
  • Never leave your pet in a hot car. Vehicle interiors can soar to nearly 160°F on an average summer day, quickly overheating your pet to fatal temperatures.
  • Do not over-exercise your pet. Outdoor activity in the summer months is more taxing than during cooler times of the year. Pets are susceptible to heat exhaustion and dehydration after even moderate exercise.
  • When possible, keep pets indoors, in a cool, air-conditioned area.
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Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe on Fourth of July

With Independence Day right around the corner, it is important to remember some basic fireworks pet safety. Pet hearing is much more sensitive than humans, making the loud explosions and shrieks especially frightening. A few simple tips can make this holiday much more tolerable for your cat or dog.

  • Owners should keep their pets indoors during fireworks displays. Many pets will panic, try to escape and wind up lost or injured.
  • Pets will seek secure locations to hide during fireworks shows. Common places include bathtubs, underneath beds and inside closets. Close the blinds or curtains to dampen the noise and remove the bright visuals. Turn on a few indoor lights and the television to provide familiarity and help calm your pet.
  • Have plenty of toys and treats available, these will help distract and soothe your pet by keeping their attention focused on positive stimuli.
  • If possible, check in on your pet regularly to reassure them that you are nearby and reduce separation anxiety.
  • After the holiday, sweep the yard and neighborhood for leftover fireworks, broken bottles or other party items. These are often toxic and can be dangerous choking hazards.
  • It is a good idea to turn up the TV when you can hear fireworks outside. This will help muffle the noise of the fireworks. Some dogs will go as far as digging holes in walls, jumping through windows or chewing through metal kennels, hurting their teeth in the process. If you believe your dog has a sensitivity and could possibly react this way, please call us to obtain sedatives ahead of the holiday to prevent this destructive and endangering problem.

If you have questions for your Del Valle Pet Hospital veterinarian, stop by our veterinary hospital in Livermore or call 925-230-9422 to schedule an appointment.

Foxtail Danger: Be Aware of How They Can Affect Your Pets

foxtail plant danger

The foxtail plant represents a hidden summertime danger to pets. Once inhaled, the barbed seeds of these common grass-like plants can travel through your pet’s respiratory system, where they become lodged in place, causing internal damage. Foxtails can also become embedded in the skin, eyes and ears, or enter the digestive tract. The shape of seed means that it is gradually forced deeper into tissue, traveling throughout a pet’s body, creating abscesses, damaging tissue, and spreading bacteria. Internalized foxtails may migrate to vital organs, causing major damage and even death.

Symptoms of foxtail ingestion are violent sneezing episodes; bloody discharge from eyes, nose or throat; irritation of external tissues; and, externally, embedded in the animal’s skin. If you suspect your dog or cat may be affected, contact us immediately. The foxtail(s) will be located and removed quickly to minimize the damage done.

With the drought foxtails have become a year-long problem; Always check for foxtails:

  • Feet: Foxtails love your dog’s feet and can easily become embedded between tender toes. Check for foxtails if you notice swelling or limping or if your dog is constantly licking the area.
  • Ears: If your pet is shaking his head, tilting it to the side, or scratching incessantly at an ear, this could be the sign of a foxtail — one that may be so deep inside the ear canal you can’t see it. Your veterinarian needs to take a look using a special scope.
  • Eyes:Redness, discharge, swelling, squinting, and pawing all may be signs your dog has a foxtail lodged in its eye. If you think this may be the case, seek veterinary care immediately.
  • Nose: If you see discharge from the nose, or if your dog is sneezing frequently and intensely, there may be a foxtail lodged in a nasal passage.
  • Vagina or penis: Foxtails can find their way into these areas, too. So if you notice your dog persistently licking at its genitals, foxtails could be the cause.

If you have questions for your Del Valle Pet Hospital veterinarian, stop by our veterinary hospital in Livermore or call 925-230-9422 to schedule an appointment.

How to Manage Rattlesnake Season When You Have Pets

Rattlesnake season is approaching! As the weather warms up and outdoor activity increases, please remember that rattlesnakes are a potent danger to dogs. Like all cold-blooded animals, rattlesnakes are more active in the hotter seasons. Rattlesnakes like to bask in the sun most days, increasing the chances of encountering one when hiking, camping or on a walk in the Tri-Valley area. Young snakes are very dangerous, as they have poor venom control and will often inject all they have into each bite. Rattlesnake venom is extremely dangerous to pets, leading to excessive swelling and necrosis of the tissue surrounding the bite wound by disrupting the integrity of the blood vessels.

Rattlesnake bites should be treated immediately at the nearest emergency facility. Treatment can include hospitalization while your pet is connected to intravenous fluids and close monitoring; depending on the severity and physical location of the bite, anti-venom medication may be needed also. Not treating your pet could lead to death. Continue Reading