Open Wounds FAQ

Your Dog Has a Bleeding Open Wound, What Do You Do Next?

By: Kristina Welsh, DVM DSCF6338

DO NOT PANIC! It won’t help you assess the situation clearly and in a systematic manner.

Ask yourself these questions:

Is he/she breathing easily without extra effort?

  • Animals in shock will pant, but breathing heavily from the belly may indicate more serious injury

Is the color of their mucous membranes (gums) pink and moist?

  • If it is pale, they are likely losing a lot of blood somewhere, often times it is internally in cases of hit by cars or big dogs attacking little dogs
  • If they gums are tacky it is likely a sign of shock

Approximate the size of the laceration, and what you can see

  • In most places on the body, bone is fairly well covered by tissues
  • You are likely to see fat, muscle, tendons and ligaments before bones

Pet_First_Aid_KitIf your pet is too painful to touch, DO NOT BE PERSISTENT AND GET BITTEN.  Most bleeding will stop with time if the pet is healthy and has a normal clotting system.  Sometimes even placing a loose tee-shirt over the area will help from your house or car getting too bloody.  If your pet allows, place a compression pad/gauze/paper towels over the area for 10-20 minutes with consistent pressure to help slow the bleeding.  A covered bag of frozen peas applied to the area will also help slow the bleeding. Once the area seems to have stopped bleeding as much, you can pack the wound with Neosporin, which will help to keep hair and debris from collecting in the wound.  Having a “cone of shame” in your first aid kit is also a very good idea, licking is always discouraged.  A surprising amount of lacerations are not an emergency.  If you can keep the wound clean and ensure the pet does not lick at it, you can see medical attention in the morning if the incident were to happen at night.

Once you have managed the situation at home, calmly call the veterinary office and alert them106906243 to the situation and that you will be on your way down.  With larger lacerations your pet will be anesthetized, and the wound closed with suture and sometimes even a drain placed.  Pain medication and antibiotics will always be sent home as well.  Depending on your pet’s age and health status, blood work may be run prior to any procedure.  In some cases of small puncture wounds, they will be cleaned, sent with medication, and there will be no additional intervention necessary.  Wounds over vital structures such as lungs, or any type of penetrating wound such as a shotgun, will require radiographs to assess for internal damage as well.

Ear infections, What Causes Them, the Treatment, and Why the Follow Up Appointments are Important.

My pet had an ear infection,  but is doing fine now. Why do I need to come in for a recheck?

By: Dr. Ben DavidsonBen and Tater

Ear infections are an incredibly common ailment of dogs.  They are less common in cats, but seen from time to time.  These infections are typically caused by either fungal (yeast) organisms or bacteria.  These organisms are always in the environment and constantly on our pet’s skin and in their ears.  During an ear infection, for some reason, those organisms break through the normal defense barrier of the skin and cause severe inflammation.  This inflammation leads to a bad odor, swelling, moist discharge and itching or discomfort to our pets.  For all of these reasons, catching, diagnosing, and treating the ear infection as early as possible is important.

When you come in for your initial exam for that ear, we will try to do a couple of things.  We will try to look down the ear to see if we can identify any irregularities that may have predisposed the ear to the infection.   These things include foreign bodies like foxtails stuck down in the dog_diagramcanal, otic masses or polyps, or anatomic abnormalities.  We will also take a sample of the ear discharge and check under the microscope to differentiate the yeast from bacterial infections.  We may also recommend a culture of the ear if the inflammation is really severe.

After we know what we are treating we will work with you to find a treatment protocol that works with your budget and your schedule to medicate your pet.  We have options ranging from topical products that you will place in the ears at home, to medicated gels that we place here in the clinic avoiding the need for you to medicate at home. In certain cases oral medications may be given if your pet is resistant to having their ears touched.  We will tailor this therapy so that it is effective and easy for all parties.

We may ask you to come back for a recheck exam a week or two weeks later.  A lot of people ask us at the time of the recheck why they needed to come back since the ears were looking so much better and they could tell that the infection was under control.  It’s a really good question.  DSC_0546There are a few reasons why we recommend that follow up.  The first reason is that we would like to recheck the ear and make sure that the infection is truly cleared.  Nothing frustrates owners and veterinarians more than getting 95% of an infection cleared, only to have that 5% regrow and start all over.  The second reason is that we may be able to get a much better look down the ears now that the infection is cleared, the swelling is down, and your pet is more comfortable and thus more compliant with that otic exam.  The third reason is that we would like the opportunity to discuss with you the techniques for preventing future infections.

Hope this answers some of your questions!

What it Means to Feed a Hypoallergenic Diet, and Why We Recommend the Hills Z/D

What it Means to Feed a Hypoallergenic Diet, and Why We Recommend the Hills Z/D

By: Dr Tony Luchetti tl 2

Usually when your veterinarian recommends  feeding a hypoallergenic diet, it is because we suspect your pet may have a food allergy.  The key to diagnosing a food allergy is feeding your pet a novel protein and carbohydrate which your pet hasn’t been exposed to before.  This new diet must be fed for a minimum of 30-60 days before results are seen.  As you can imagine the key to doing a dietary trial is making sure the diet you are feeding doesn’t contain any trace amounts of other protein or carbohydrate sources.   The Hill’s diets are guaranteed to only contain 1 protein and 1 carbohydrate source, where other commercial diets very commonly have traces of other carbohydrate and/or protein sources.  Hill’s also has its Z/D diet which has a hydrolyzed protein.  A hydrolyzed protein is a conventional protein which is broken down into molecules so small, they don’t stimulate the immune system.   The advantage of using a hydrolyzed protein is you take away the guess work of picking a protein source you think the pet won’t react to.   For example, if you switch a dog to a venison and potato diet for 2 months Hills ZDand the dog is still itchy after the 2 months, you then wonder if the dog doesn’t have a food allergy, or you wonder if the dog is allergic to venison also.   The Z/D diet takes out this variable because the protein molecule doesn’t stimulate the immune system.

The other advantage of the Hill’s diet over some other commercial diets is their diets have been tested in clinical settings where other diets may not have been.  The way you can tell if a diet has been tested is to look for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the diet.  Diets which have been tested will say under the AAFCO statement  that feeding tests have been done, wheres diets which haven’t been tested will say the diet has been formulated.Affco statement

In conclusion diagnosing food allergies can be frustrating for both owners and veterinarians.  The key to diagnosing food allergies is trying to eliminate as many variables as possible.  The Hill’s diets help us achieve this.


The 411 on Breeding

I Think I’d Like to Breed My Dog, and What You Need to Know
By: Dr. Laura Leautier Dr. Leautier
People think they’d like to breed their dog for many reasons.  Maybe it’s the cutest and smartest dog they’ve ever owned, or they’ve erroneously heard it makes the dog a better pet to have a litter, or they want to show their kids the miracle of birth.  Whatever the reason, it’s best to give this huge decision careful thought and get as educated as possible about whether or not to breed your dog.
First, I’d like to give some reasons why you may decide it’s not right for you.  Did you know that spaying a dog before her first heat virtually guarantees she won’t get breast cancer?  Her risk is less than one percent.  After one heat it bumps up to DSC_0148-0018%, and after two heats or more it jumps to 26%.  So at that point basically 1 in 4 dogs will get mammary cancer.  Half the time it’s malignant, and half the time it’s benign.  But it still requires surgery and biopsying to know what type your dog has.  Spaying also prevents a pyometra (a common life-threatening uterine infection that most often requires emergency surgery).  If you decide to breed your dog, you need to set aside funds for a possible c-section.  These can run from $1,000-$2,000.  We see difficult births several times a month.  The miracle of birth is amazing, but sometimes it’s more stressful and costly than you’d expect.  The saddest times are when a pup or the mother doesn’t survive the birthing process.
If you decide that breeding your dog is right for you and your family, consider if your pet is right for breeding.  Health and temperament should be excellent, since reputable breeders strive to improve their breed, not pass on problems to the next pet and its owners.  Health clearances, which can cost several hundreds to several thousands, are the best way to make sure your dog is suitable for breeding.  Hip and elbow dysplasia, congenital cataracts and inherited blindness, thyroid problems, heart defects, and bleeding disorders are just some of the genetic problems that can be passed on unknowingly.  You’ll want to wait until after age two to breed your dog, because many of these tests can’t be performed until age two or older.  Most dogs go into heat every 6 to 9 months, so jot down the start and end of her heat on the calendar to help you plan for future breedings.  Most dogs “do it naturally” but sometimes they need help.  Dr. Sandoval and Dr. Leautier have been assisting with conception for more than 20 years and 15 years, respectively.  We time the breeding with multiple progesterone blood texesd8sts, and inseminate via regular artificial insemination or surgical insemination.  As you can see, it’s an expensive endeavor and not to be taken lightly.  If you have questions, feel free to give us a call.

What is Bloat?

Bloat; The Mother of All Emergencies

By: John Crumley DSC_0303-001

I want to take this opportunity to let you know of a severe, life-threatening syndrome that affects large breed dogs and a recent advance in preventative surgery for the condition.

Since your pet is a large breed dog, you may have heard of gastric dilatation volvulus complex, also referred to as “bloat” or “GDV.” This syndrome occurs in certain breeds, specifically large “deep-chested” breeds. The stomach dilates with gas and food and then begins an abnormal rotation (illustrated on the illustration-dog-bloat-500ximage to the left). This can happen very rapidly, often in hours, and if untreated results in obstruction of the stomach and death. Treatment consists of aggressive fluid therapy and prompt surgical correction. The success of treatment ranges from 60 to 80%, thus unfortunately, some of the patients die despite our best efforts. Cost of the procedure, excluding the obvious emotional cost, can range from $1,500 to $5,000.

Although this syndrome is not encountered every day in predisposed breeds, the severity of the condition has incited us to explore the latest surgical techniques to both correct and prevent it.

In the past the surgical procedure to prevent this syndrome (gastropexy) had to be performed with a more traditional surgical approach with a recovery time of 7 to 10 days and a 6 to 12 inch abdominal incision. Our hospital has invested in laparoscopic equipment and advanced surgical training for our doctors to enable us to perform surgeries such as this with minimal incision size and recovery time for the patient. We often recommend preforming this procedure during the time of great_dane_stock_7_by_sigarnistock-d3hwnnjthe spay or neuter. The surgery for the gastropexy can now be performed with two small incisions (less than 1 inch in many cases) with a recovery time of 2 to 4 days. If you have any questions on whether your pet would benefit from a preventative surgery please call us and speak with Dr. Baker, Dr Davidson, or me about the details of this surgery.

Fun in the Sun 2015

The Fun in the Sun Photo Contest is back. Please send us a picture of your pet enjoying the summer days. Whether it be outside or taking a cat nap we want to see. All the photos will be posted on our Facebook page.Facebook-Like

We have some new rules this year about voting be sure to read the details below. This year the winner will receive a $50 dollar gift card to Baring Blvd Veterinary Hospital. Be sure to follow these steps below to register.

1. Find an adorable picture of your pet enjoying the summer season.

2. Email it to us at (as a jpeg please). Subject line : FUN IN THE SUN 2015, be sure to include your first and last name, your pet’s name and your phone number.

3. Login and check out your pet’s picture on our Facebook page. (And don’t for get to like it!)Facebook-Like

4. Ask your friends and family to help by liking the picture on OUR page (if you share it ask them to click through to our page, other wise their like won’t count).


The winner will be determined by a percentage of the likes on facebook, and votes from the staff. Photos can be submitted from July 1- August 12 (to the email above). We will post all the photos at the same time on August 15. The voting will take place from August 15 through August 22. The winner will be announced after the staff vote on August 29. Good Luck !


Here are some of last years pictures:

Angus 2nd place Bella Chico Dugan Franklin Journey Khloe 1st palce Sullivan 3rd place

images (1)

What Does it Mean When My Dog Eats Grass?

My Dog Eats Grass, Does That Mean He’s Sick?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

The short answer is no; eating grass does not mean your dog is sick. Eating grass is a normal behavior in dogs. A study revealed that the majority of dogs eat grass routinely (79% of the dogs studied ate grass daily). The same study revealed less than 20% of dogs that ate grass vomited after eating the grass. This means that grass is a poor inducer of nausea and/or vomiting. So dogs eat grass normally and it doesn’t make them vomit enough to give support to the claim that dogs eat grass to make themselves vomit.

I’ve always heard dogs ate grass when they feel sick to intentionally cause themselves to vomit and I never questioned it until

images (1)veterinary school. Why is this “wives tale” so pervasive that most of us have accepted it as truth if it has been proven to be false? Nobody really knows, but consider this explanation. Grass if indigestible by dogs, so if grass is ingested it will remain in the stomach longer than digestible items. If the majority of dogs eat grass daily, when they vomit for any reason there is a strong possibility there will be grass in the vomitus. We see grass in the vomit and jump to a simple, but wrong conclusion that the grass caused the vomiting. I think over the years we have come to the erroneous conclusion that the grass causes vomiting just because it is present in the vomitus so often.

So if your dog eats grass, don’t worry so much. However, if you dog is vomiting please have him seen by one of our veterinarians to try and determine the real cause of the vomiting.


Yearly Exams, and Why They Are Important To Your Pet’s Health

Why Should I Come In For Yearly Exams if Everything is Ok?
By. Dr. Ben Davidson DSC_0963
We wish the only reason you needed to come in for your pet’s yearly exam was because you missed our smiling faces or dearly love our coffee and cookies,  but there’s actually several good medical reasons why we want to see you.
        A lot can happen in a year.  There are a lot of not-so-obvious diseases that are picked up on routine exams or lab screenings, and may not be noticeable or known to someone that doesn’t do this all the time.  Those routine screenings and lab tests, much like the ones we humans are all supposed to get, are the best chance at early detection of diseases, and in some cases make a huge Golden Retriever puppydifference in the prognosis and outcome.
      Most pets are actually due for treatments or vaccines yearly.  Many of our pet friends benefit from yearly teeth cleanings.  Dogs that visit dog parks should get a fecal test each year to detect parasites.  And some vaccines are labeled as being effective for one year, such as bordatella (kennel cough), feline leukemia, and, in some instances, rabies.
        The Board of Pharmacy mandates that to issue prescribed drugs, either here from our clinic or by written prescription, we must have a current exam on file within the last 12 months.     bandit
 We know everyone wants what’s best for their pet.  We know you all do everything you can for their happiness and health.  One of the biggest challenges we face is not being able to talk to them, or I guess, them not being able to talk to us.  You usually can tell if something is really wrong with your pet, but how can you tell if something is just a little off?  We all know, for ourselves, when something isn’t quite right, and which of those times we should go see our doctor.  But for our pets, it’s not so easy.  Yearly exams and routine lab work help us find problems earlier than we might have otherwise, and hopefully before something has advanced too far.

Hiking Hazards

Hiking Hazards, How to Keep You and You’re Pet Safe.

By: Dr. Ben Davidson

If you are anything like me, you love exploring this wonderful wilderness that surrounds us.  If you’reBen and Tater reading this, you must love taking your faithful four-legged companion with you.  There are a few things you can do to make the hiking experience much safer and more enjoyable for everyone.  Most importantly is controlling the severe elements that we experience on our treks.  In our area, these include the heat and the dry climate.  Our pets tend to walk at least 50% further than we do, running ahead, circling back, and chasing that chipmunk off the trail.  Between the extra exercise and their hair coat, they get a whole lot hotter than we do.  Try to hike in shaded areas, with water around to cool off in. Try to leave early enough to avoid the hottest part of our day, the afternoon.  Make sure you bring plenty of water and a good drinking bowl for them.  Even if it’s a cool day, they hike-with-dog-1need plenty of water.

Hopefully accidents and injuries won’t be a problem, and a few careful steps can prevent a lot of them, but just in case, a few simple additions to your first aid kit are a good idea.  The most common injury we see is pad wear, or blisters on the bottom of their feet.  Just like us, if their little feet aren’t accustomed to long walks, they can get very sore, or crack and blister.  Try to get your pet back into good shape before you take off on that long walk.  Also, wet feet are more prone to injury, so if you are hiking up to some beautiful alpine lake, make sure you plan on letting your pup dry out before heading back down.   It’s hard to prevent little nicks and cuts from them running through the bushes and jumping rocks, but if it is possible to avoid those situations, it’s probably a good idea.  Exercising a little caution and moderation, especially early in the season can also prevent injuries such as muscular and ligament strains, sprains and tears.  Like I said, some basic first aid may be necessary for some of the unavoidable problems.  A pair of tweezers for cactus, foxtails, or other thorns is useful.  Superglue or Pet_First_Aid_Kitany commercially available tissue adhesive can quickly repair a small cut on the fly. Saline eye flush (not a medicated Visine type product) is helpful in case they get something in their eye.  There are some really nice pet first aid kits available at the pet stores or at the large sporting good and outdoor stores.

Finally, just know where you are hiking. Do a little research into what toxins and wildlife you might encounter. If you’re headed off to the east, or just locally, you need to be aware of 45796878.GreatBasinRattlesnake07_05_05rattlesnakes. Up in the mountains it’s not as much of a threat, but still, if you hear that suspicious rattle, get Fido back to you and walk on bye carefully. Flea, tick, and absolutely heartworm prevention is important when out in the elements.  There are certainly other predators out there, and although these incidents are incredibly rare, it’s important to keep an eye out. If you are a horticulturalist and without question know the difference between toxic and safe plants, you are in a great place to go hiking. For the rest of us, don’t let your pets eat plants out there. They may be unsafe both in toxins and also by causing GI upset or obstructions.

Everybody have a great hiking season!

Traveling with your pet

Traveling With Your Pet? Tips on How to Make Your Road Trip a Little Less Hairy …(hopefully)

Road trip with your furry friend?

By: Dr. Carrie Wright cwright

I remember the first time I took my dogs to the dog beaches in California  – I thought being a vet would have prepared me for the unanticipated trials that arose from being with my girls for 24 hours Traveling with your peta day in a non local area.  But I wasn’t prepared, and now I have some advice for you!

Traveling with your pet can be a terrific experience, but only if you plan ahead.  Make sure vaccines are current (and this means young animals should have at least 3 sets ending around 16 weeks of age), and always bring a copy of your vaccination certificate with you.  Rabies is a nationwide concern and many state borders require proof of vaccination before allowing access to their state.  As well as the certificate, a copy of your pet’s medical records is recommended, especially if they have a history of illness or chronic disease.  I think it’s a great idea to locate a veterinarian along the way or at your final destination just in case you need home_again_320some help.  It is helpful to have a permanent ID implant such as a microchip – collars and leashes with ID can easily be removed or lost… It usually costs around $45 and will significantly increase your pet’s chance of recovery.  Some companies such as Home Again aid in that recovery (with signs and notifications to the surrounding animal groups/hospitals) or even medical bills if your pet is injured while lost.

Many diseases are geographic, so please check to see if you need preventative medications or additional vaccinations prior to travel (i.e. – Heartworm disease, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis).  Fleas and ticks can be a nuisance to both you and your pets, and can cause serious disease as well, so talk to us about prevention treatment options.

If this is your pet’s first trip, you should make sure they are able to travel for long distances.  Try a shorter trip and see how Romeo-is-Planningit goes.  Would sedation have been nice? An anti anxiety medication? Motion sickness drugs?  Sedation can be a great option for long trips, but do you want the potential 12 hour effect?  Always bring towels for cleaning up those nasty side effects of motion sickness (or puppy pads work well to line your seats).  Keep in mind that tired dogs are usually calmer in the car, so make sure your friend gets plenty of exercise prior to loading into the car. And cats, well…you might call us and we can have a chat.

Keep those pets buckled! Or at least contained – no one wants a 70 lb dog climbing over their shoulder while driving down the freeway at 75mph… Kennels, pet barriers, and seatbelts/harnesses have been created to prevent unwanted risks. PJ-BB519_DOGCAR_D_20110628165953 Again, practice with these PRIOR to your trip.

Be sure to stop for rest breaks! You should ideally stop every 3-4 hours along the road to offer water and a potty break.  Stay clear of heavily soiled areas – although vaccines prevent diseases like parvo and distemper, it would be no fun to pick up a gastrointestinal parasite on vacation.

Many motels/hotels accept pets for a small deposit, but be sure to call ahead to make your reservations.  When you do have to leave your pet in your room, make sure they are either in a crate or kennel, and stand outside the door to make Hotel-La-Jolla-San-Diego-Hotels-Pet-Friendly-Hotelsure they don’t bark or howl – although pet friendly, there are limitations! And not that you haven’t heard this one before – do not leave your pet in the car –temperatures can rise too quickly with very serious consequences.

Have fun with your pet, and be sure to call us if you have any questions!