…skilled service…compassionate care

“Together is a wonderful place to be”

You Speak…We Listen

El Gato lives by our motto, skilled service…compassionate care. Providing great service and care comes with a cost, and we work hard to keep expenses down. To that end, through our website, we instituted a new high quality yet less expensive and easy to use on-line pharmacy. You can order and receive medication and regular pet food, flea and tick preventative and more. The benefits for you and your pet:

  • pricing is more affordable compared to in-store, other on-line pharmacies, and even our own hospital
  • items are delivered to your door, shipped from the manufacturer with manufacturer backing and guarantee
  • free shipping, except time and/or temperature sensitive items
  • food, including prescription foods, is shipped free with auto-ship option, making it even MORE affordable
  • compounded prescriptions are also available

It is easy to use the pharmacy. Go to our website, https://www.elgatovet.com, select the Pharmacy tab and start your order.

In case you haven’t already downloaded our PetDesk app, go to the app store, download the PetDesk app to earn pet reward points which can be redeemed for nail trims and other procedures. The PetDesk app provides you with 24-hour access for appointments and other information.

Grain Free Diet Concerns – Update

Just one year ago, we reported the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) investigation into a link between grain free diets and a type of canine heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy, or D.C.M. Symptoms include fatigue, difficulty breathing, coughing and fainting. Some dogs can abruptly go into heart failure. While D.C.M. is typically seen in large breed dogs with a genetic pre-disposition for it, it has been seen frequently in golden retrievers, doodle mixes, Labrador Retrievers and Shih Tzus. The common factor was a diet heavy in peas, lentils, chickpeas and potatoes – carbohydrates intended to replace grains.

Grains are an important protein source and grain free dog foods with legumes may be interfering with taurine levels in the dog. Currently, the University of California, Davis, is tracking 24 golden retrievers with low taurine levels who had been on grain-free diets. While this is still being investigated, before you decide to change your pet to a grain free diet, please call and talk with our doctors to determine if that is the best diet for your dog. The official FDA announcement can be read at: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy.

Heat Issues for Pets – It Bears Repeating

Last month, we reminded you about heat dangers for your pets. Following that warning, we endured days with triple digit temperatures and we know more will follow. Watch for the signs that your pet is suffering from heat stroke: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness on feet, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue. If you see any of these signs, move to a cooler area and notify us immediately.

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV)

The canine influenza virus (CIV) is still around and still preventable. Last week, Oakland Animal Shelters confirmed the dog-flu outbreak with 55 dogs known to be sick along with some deaths. This is a highly contagious virus that can be deadly yet is preventable with vaccination. If you believe you or your dog may have come into contact with a contagious animal, contact us immediately and when you arrive for an appointment, do not come inside or take your dog inside. Call us from your car and our staff will come to you to assess the symptoms. Meanwhile, refresh your knowledge of CIV with this article: https://www.purewow.com/family/everything-to-know-about-dog-flu

Foxtail Awareness

Have fun with your pet outdoors yet be aware of the dangers. Along with snake bite, heat, dehydration, ticks and others, be very aware of foxtails. What are foxtails? (See photo). They are a type of grassy plant found in parks, open fields, backyards and even on city sidewalks. Go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the County’s extension office to learn specifics for our area. Learn to identify foxtails in your area and how to avoid them.

Generally, foxtails are golden brown but can vary from green to white to yellow to dark brown and nearly black and can vary in length. The seed heads contain sharp and sticky barbs that once stuck, don’t let go. These barbs only allow movement in one direction which means once inside a nose, ear, or any place on the body, any movement will keep the barbs moving inward.

Whenever you finish exercising your dog, carefully examine the coat, ears, nose, tail and feet just as you would if searching for ticks. Foxtails will migrate forward with motion and get into all parts of the body. They are painful for your pet, can cause severe damage and in some cases, death.

Trim your dog’s body hair and the hair between the toes during the summer to make it easier to spot foxtails and to make it more difficult for the foxtails to stick.

Signs and Symptoms of Foxtail Exposure

Despite careful examination after a romp in the outdoors, your dog may have come into contact with foxtails. Pay attention for these signs and if you see them, contact us immediately:

  • Vigorous head shaking or head tilting which may indicate a foxtail in the ear or nose – see
    surgical removal photo
  • Sneezing excessively
  • Limping, swollen feet
  • Pawing at the eyes, ears or nose
  • Painful skin lumps or abscesses
  • Discharge from spots on the skin
  • Licking at genitalia

When you find a foxtail, remove it immediately with a pair of tweezers to prevent deeper penetration. If you can’t get it, contact us immediately to avoid more damage and possible infection.

Summer Celebration Pet Safety

Summer is a time for outdoor fun, family gatherings and relaxation. Of course, our pets often join us. After the Memorial Day excitement, the biggest holiday celebration is the Fourth of July with barbecues, picnics and fireworks. Some dogs are skillful at sneaking hotdogs, chicken, or ribs from the picnic table. To keep your pet’s tummy safe and save you a visit to us, do not give your pet part of the picnic treats. Provide him with his own food and plenty of fresh water for a day of fun.

Surprisingly, some pets even ingest fireworks so keep your pets well away from the fireworks and clean the area thoroughly after setting off any fireworks. Some pets are averse to the loud noises associated with fireworks. If your pet is fearful of loud noises, allow him to stay home. Move him into an interior room or even a size specific crate and turn on music or television while the festivities take place. Be aware not to reinforce your pet’s anxious behavior by saying, “it’s ok”, using a soothing tone, petting or cuddling. Remain more nonchalant and reinforce only positive behavior. Regardless, you may need to use an anxiety vest or, after consultation with our doctors, anti-anxiety medication. Cats are not as susceptible to loud noises and, if they are, they will usually hide. Dogs may run away. Microchipping your pet and updating the contact information is the best way to help reunite you if your pet escapes. A few simple steps will help keep you and your pets safe for the festivities.

Saying Good-bye to a Friend is Tough

Farwell to Johnathan, our great Registered Veterinary Technician who is moving on to a new job. He worked with us for six years and became a trusted colleague and friend. We will miss him dearly and his wonderful care and skill that he has with animals along with his sense of humor and compassion. We wish him well in his new job.

National Pet Fire Safety Day – July 15

The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have recommendations to educate pet parents about steps to take to both prevent fires caused by pets and plan for unexpected fire emergencies. Develop and practice a home family evacuation plan that includes who is responsible for getting the pets and where you are meeting after the evacuation. For more details and suggestions, go to https://www.akc.org/press-releases/national-pet-fire-safety-day-prevention-tips-to-keeppets-from-startin/.

National Mutt Day – July 31, and December 2

Celebrate the beauty and diversity of a mixed breed dog. Approximately 80% of dogs in shelters are mixed breed. On average, mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier, live longer and can perform duties such as search and rescue, or serving as a service animal. Visit a local shelter and adopt a mixed breed dog. You both with be happy you did.

All American Pet Photo Day – July 11

Take photos of your pets and share the pictures. We love to see your pet in action or home having fun, so please share them with us and we will post them on our Facebook page. Have fun!

El Gato Holiday Hours

We will be closed July 4 to enjoy the holiday with family and friends. Please be sure you have all medications especially sedatives for the Fourth of July and travel health certificates for any long-distance trips.