…skilled service…compassionate care

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘ it will be happier’…” Alfred Lord Tennyson

January is Wellness month at El Gato

Happy New Year, 2021! Given all that we went through in 2020, heat, wildfires, job losses, pandemic, to name a few, we survived and are starting 2021 with renewed hope for the future. During 2020, brought new pets and happiness into some homes and in other homes, we hugged our existing pets even closer. Now that 2021 brings with it the hope and promise of better days ahead, we want to be sure that our pets are healthy and ready to take on the world.

January is a great month to get a thorough wellness check for your pet to monitor their health. This is where we check thoroughly from nose to tail, head to toe to be sure your pet is sound and healthy. This exam should include a complete physical exam. A fecal exam to test for giardia and parasites is recommended. We can conduct additional lab work, x-rays, or other tests as identified by the doctor. We can evaluate the status of your pet’s vaccines, as well as testing for heartworm disease and check the dental health of your pet. The wellness exam can be used as a baseline exam for future exams and as comparisons to exams performed previously.

If a senior pet joined your family in 2020, or if your pet aged along with the family, talk with our staff about your goals and plans for your pet in 2021. Senior pets or pets with specific illnesses or injuries may require wellness exams every six months. Remember, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) generally defines small dogs and cats as seniors at the age of seven years and larger dog breeds as geriatric at age six. Regardless of your pet’s age, our doctors can discuss the appropriate type and amount of food to feed your pet to keep everything purring along.

It is our sincere hope that with a clean bill of health for your pet, you can wipe 2020 off your shoes and move forward into a brighter 2021.

Pandemic Requires Patience

The latest data provided to USA TODAY from The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that average wait time nearly doubled earlier this year — that’s according to June 2020 data compared to June 2019 data. El Gato has experienced longer wait times for several reasons. First, pandemic precautions. Second, other clinics have not been able to operate during the pandemic so our workload has increased. Third, there are more pets needing urgent care appointments.

Please be patient with our staff. We know your time is very important to you and we work hard to respect your appointment times. Sometimes, sudden illnesses or other uncontrollable issues interfere to make your wait time even longer. Please feel free to text our staff and we can re-schedule your appointment or otherwise work with you to mitigate the problem. If you are able, always show up with a book, or something to do if we are running late. We will do our best to keep you informed about any delays in your appointment time but understand that at no time will we tolerate rude or aggressive behavior. Thanks for your understanding. Together, we will get through this and we appreciate your patience.

Pet Nutrition Information

Addressing questions about the long-term nutritional needs for a healthy pet is something we handle daily. Unless your pet has special medical or nutritional requirements, which will be identified by our doctors, how do you choose the right pet food? The Tufts University Cummins School of Veterinary Medicine has a program that may help you. Go to https://www.vetnutrition.tufts.edu and click on petfoodology to receive detailed information about pet foods. Here you will find The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) information to help guide you in your selections.
Selecting-the-Best-Food-for-your-Pet.pdf (wsava.org).

Check out The Pet Nutrition Alliance which has a website, Manufacturer Report (petnutritionalliance.org). The Alliance contacted more than 200 manufactures selling pet food in the United States and Canada to ask questions based on the WSVA criteria. These great resources will help guide you in your choice. Of course, reach out to our staff with any and all questions regarding your pet’s nutritional needs.

Petfood Recalls

Please visit: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/safety-health/recalls-withdrawals to review the most recent petfood recalls. If you are feeding these items to your pets, please discontinue and call with any questions you may have.


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

Here are a few interesting tidbits of news that I thought you’d enjoy.

More of Us Than We Thought!

A study published in October 2020 by Texas A&M University suggests that genetic tests of collected dog remains indicates that there were five dog lineages from over 11,000 years ago. That’s a lot of diversity! Read the whole article! It is really exciting.
Study Finds 5 Distinct Dog Types From 11,000 Years Ago – Texas A&M Today (tamu.edu)

Cats Too!

Did you know that researchers in Europe and Russia unearthed the remains of a cat that had been buried in the eighth century. Chemical composition of the bones showed that the cat had been fed a diet that contained more protein than dogs and suggests that it was domesticated because of evidence of healed injuries. The cat belonged to the domesticated species Felis catus Linnaeus. Read about the archaeology of the domestic cat. Someone really cared for that cat.
The archaeology of the domestic cat – Current Archaeology.

Dogs Sniffing Out Pythons? Not Me!

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and their contacts with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), non-native pythons have been identified as one of the biggest and most concerning invasive species in Florida. They drastically impacted the populations of a number of native species and have permanently altered the ecosystem since being introduced into the wild. Eradicating these pests is key to protecting the native environment and the new FWC detector dog team seems to be working great.

For example, the FWC reports that “the most severe declines in native species occurred in remote, southernmost regions of Everglades National park where pythons have been established the longest. A 2012 study showed that raccoon populations dropped 99.3%, opossums, 98.9% and bobcats 87.5% since 1997. Marsh rabbits, cottontail rabbits, and foxes effectively disappeared”. The mammals that have declined most significantly have been regularly found in the stomachs of Burmese Pythons removed from the Everglades National Park.

Now, there is a new tool to help in the search for and control of these snakes. Currently, the dog, handler and an FWC biologist go out five days a week to search for pythons. The dogs are trained to alert the handler to the snake’s scent and the handler tells the biologist so appropriate action may be taken. I sure am glad someone is doing that, just count me out!

We are thankful to you, our wonderful clients and their pets and look forward to this new year. We wish you a very healthy, joyful and prosperous New Year 2021!