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COVID-19 Update

We receive inquiries wondering when El Gato will allow clients inside the building. The short answer is, not yet, and we do not expect to have a more definitive answer before September, or even later. Our primary goal is to continue to maintain your safety and the safety of our staff. As soon as we feel it will be safe and has been approved by the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health, our doors will open. Remember, if you are sick please do not come to the appointment and have someone else bring your pet. Thank you for your patience and cooperation and keep up the good work.

Prepare for Emergencies – All Hazards

As if COVID-19 is not bad enough, here we go again with wildfires. Currently, fire crews are battling the Mineral Fire in Fresno County and the fire in Lassen County. While not local fires, we feel and see the effects in the smoke and haze in the air. Humans, our pets and livestock as well are affected by smoke and poor air quality.

As irritating as smoke can be to people, it can cause health problems for animals as well. Smoke from wildfires and other large blazes affects pets, horses, livestock and wildlife. If you can see or feel the effects of smoke yourself, you also should take precautions to keep your animals – both pets and livestock – safe. As fire season continues, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers detailed information for protecting your pets and livestock.

Animals with cardiovascular or respiratory disease are especially at risk from smoke and should be closely watched during all periods of poor air quality. Look for the following signs of possible smoke or dust irritation in animals. If any of your animals are experiencing any of these signs, please consult your veterinarian.

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Difficulty breathing, including open mouth breathing and increased noise when breathing
  • Eye irritation and excessive watering
  • Inflammation of throat or mouth
  • Nasal discharge
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Disorientation or stumbling
  • Reduced appetite and/or thirst

Tips to Protect Pets

  • Keep pets indoors as much as possible, and keep your windows shut.
  • Birds are particularly susceptible and should not be allowed outside when smoke or particulate matter are present.
  • Let dogs and cats outside only for brief bathroom breaks if air quality alerts are in effect.
  • Avoid intense outdoor exercise during periods of poor air quality. Exercise pets when dust and smoke has settled.
  • Have a pet evacuation kit ready, and include your animals in your disaster preparedness planning.

Tips to Protect Livestock

  • Limit exercise when smoke is visible. Especially don’t require animals to perform activities that substantively increase airflow into and out of the lungs.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water near feeding areas.
  • Limit dust exposure by feeding low-dust or dust-free feeds and sprinkling or misting the livestock holding area.
  • Plan to give livestock 4 to 6 weeks to recuperate after the air quality returns to normal. Attempting to handle, move, or transport livestock may delay healing and compromise your animals’ performance.
  • Have a livestock evacuation plan ready in advance. If you don’t have enough trailers to quickly transport all of your animals, contact neighbors, local haulers, farmers, producers, or other transportation providers to establish a network of reliable resources that can provide transportation in the event you need to evacuate your animals.
  • Good barn and field maintenance can reduce fire danger for horses and other livestock. Make sure barns and other structures are stable, promptly remove dead trees, clear away brush, and maintain a defensible space around structures.

Pets and Disasters

Be prepared to take care of your animals, especially during disasters such as fire, flood, or other emergencies. In cases of fire or natural disasters, you need to be prepared in case your pet gets injured, lost, or has to be evacuated.

  • A pre-determined plan in case of a disaster will help you remain calm and think clearly.
  • Remember to communicate and cooperate with all emergency personnel.
  • If you must leave the premises let someone know where you are going and try to remain in contact with that person.

Planning for Disasters

For Pet Owners
• Natural Disasters: Plan Ahead for Animals’ Safety (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Prepare Your Pets, Too (American Red Cross)

For Horse Owners
Large Animals and Livestock in Disasters
• Emergency and Disaster Preparedness for Horse Owners (American Association of Equine Practitioners)

Pet Evacuation Kit

Be prepared for a disaster with a pet evacuation kit. Assemble the kit well in advance of any emergency and store in an easy-to-carry, waterproof container close to an exit so you can grab and go. Your kit should include the following items unique to your pet:

  • Food and Medicine
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sanitation Supplies
  • Important Identification and Health Documents
  • Travel and Housing Supplies
  • Comfort Items


by assistant editor, Roo, aka, Super Searcher With a Nose for News.

Pets and Exercising in Hot Weather – It Bears Repeating

Walking your dog is great exercise for you both, but never walk or exercise your dog in the heat of the day. Recently, several people were seen riding bicycles on an asphalt street with their dogs running alongside! Each dog showed signs of heat stress. They panted heavily and clearly struggled to keep up. Running on hot asphalt is a significant health risk for dogs. Did you know that when the air temperature is 87 degrees F, the asphalt can reach 140 degrees F? That’s hot enough to fry an egg. It can cause burns and permanent damage after just one minute of contact. You try it. Take off your shoes and walk on hot asphalt. If the surface is too hot for your feet, it is too hot for your dog’s feet. Hot sidewalks can also reflect onto dogs’ bodies, increasing the risk of heatstroke. Remember, dogs cool themselves through the pads of their feet and by panting. By running in the bright sunshine, breathing hot air, and burning their feet on hot asphalt, a dog cannot cool, but can quickly overheat which can lead to heat stroke and even death. If possible, walk in the early morning or cooler evening. For great tips, go to the American Red Cross site https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2020/keep-your-furry-friends-safe-when-its-hot-outside.html.


Did you know that August is National Immunization Awareness Month? Keep your pet smiling and happy, just like me for as long as possible by assuring that the vaccinations, both core, Rabies, Distemper / Parvo for dogs, and FVRCP and Rabies for cats, and non-core vaccines, administered according to your pet’s lifestyle and activities, are up to date, and that heartworm medication is administered regularly. These vaccines can be discussed with your veterinarian at your pet’s annual or bi-annual check-up. Remember, treatment of an illness is almost always more expensive than prevention.

Important Dates to Remember

International Assistance Dog Week – August 2 – 8

I really know how hard Assistance Dogs as well as their owners and trainers work, so join me in celebrating them. Go to https://www.assistancedogweek.org for great information on ways to:

  • Recognize and honor assistance dogs
  • Educate the public about the value of assistance dogs
  • Honor puppy raisers and trainers
  • Recognize heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs

International Homeless Animals Day – August 17

Let everyday remind us of the countless homeless animals we have in our community and consider adopting or at least supporting the organizations that care for them. I am so lucky to have a great home; I wish all animals did.

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day – August 22

It can be hard to get the dog to the vet, but cats may be even more difficult, yet it is vital that they get the great routine care that dogs receive. Don’t assume that just because cats may be more reclusive or seem to eat and drink regularly that they are fine. Call to schedule an appointment for your kitty and we can give you tips to make the trip and visit easier. Besides, I’d love to see your kitty!

Enjoy Your August and Stay Safe!