Posts Tagged ‘Pet care in Oceanside CA’

Bordetella: Why my pet has to have it to board

Saturday, April 20th, 2013


Frequently we have clients who have tried to board their pets at a facility only to have the receptionist tell them they could not board because the pet did not have updated vaccines. As boarding facilities are often not staffed by medical professionals, the client is not given much of an explanation as to why the vaccine requirement exists. To help alleviate some of the confusion we wanted to discuss one of the key vaccines required by boarding facilities and groomers: Bordetella.

Most commonly required vaccine for boarding  

Shy Sam, is a regular boarder at PAH. His mom is great about making sure he is always up to date with his bordetella vaccine.

The most commonly required vaccine for boarding is Bordetella. This vaccine protects against the bordetella  bronchiseptica  which is one of several organisms that can cause Kennel Cough. As if the scientist who named the vaccine was trying to give us hints (putting “bord” and “kennel” in the titles), kennel  cough is most often passed between dogs that spend time together in confined spaces, such as boarding facilities. This is not to alarm you or deter you from thinking about boarding your pet. Thousands of pets visit boarding facilities every day and go home happy and healthy. Requiring all dogs be vaccinated for Bordetella reduces the chances of any pets bringing in the disease. The vaccination requirement is really just a sign of a clean facility!

What is kennel cough:

Similar to a human’s cold, Kennel Cough’s main symptom is a coughing sound. Often clients will go to their pet’s  doctor complaining that their dog cannot stop coughing and they are concerned something is caught in their pet’s throat. Although no object is found in their throat, the doctor will often find inflammation of the windpipe and voice box. Kennel cough can be spread at a boarding facility, but can also be caused by dog-to-dog contact at the park, germs on shared toys, or even shared water dishes.

Other symptoms the doctor may look for include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Eye discharge

Treating Kennel Cough:

Kennel cough is very contagious. Many veterinary offices, including Pacific Animal Hospital, will often have suspected kennel cough dogs come in through a separate door to reduce the chance of transmission. If you have a dog at home that you think may have kennel cough, keep them away from all other pets and wash your hands after coming into contact with them (you can’t catch it, but you could assist in passing it between your pets). Kennel cough will run its course in about three weeks

Common forms of treatment:

  • Antibiotics that target Bordetella
  • Keeping your pet in a room with a humidifier to help reduce the coughing
  • Using a harness instead of a collar to avoid causing distress to the throat
  • Keeping your pet in a low-stress environment (i.e. food and water always available, lots of love and attention, quiet, a comfy place to sleep, etc.)
  • Avoid exposure to fumes or smoke

The easiest way to avoid kennel cough all together is to get your pets vaccinated. Except in rare instances, vaccinated pets will not get kennel cough.

If your pet is social and goes to parks, beaches, or comes in contact with other dogs  or will be boarded,  please contact (LINK) Pacific Animal Hospital to make an appointment to see a doctor and get vaccinated!

We believe in standards, and so should you!

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

As a hospital that believes in offering the best possible healthcare to animals, we have gone the extra mile to ensure that our standards do not slip. We want to always offer the best possible care to our clients and their pets, so much so that we are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association. Although this may not seem surprising since many of the human hospitals we visit are required to be accredited, for animal hospitals there is no requirement to be accredited or to maintain a standard of health care. Re-accreditation is not guaranteed and the process of re-accreditation involves an on-site inspection of the hospital. For our staff and doctors being accredited means everything. We believe in providing the ultimate pet health care experience, both medically for patients and service for clients. But what does this mean for you as a client?

What does it mean to be accredited?

Only 15% of the hospitals in the nation are accredited. The process of accreditation is long and involved. We are held to 900 standards of excellence. These standards span the gamut, involving everything from how we keep medical records to how a doctor performs an exam on your pet. Each standard was created to ensure that your pet receives the same level of care every time they go to the hospital. Once a hospital is accredited they are audited every three years to ensure compliance is maintained.

How does this affect my pet?

All AAHA hospitals are required to offer diagnostic services (x-ray and laboratory) on site so that you can have immediate information regarding your pet’s health. This increases the accuracy of diagnosis and keeps your pet’s care timely.

The standards are all focused on quality. Specifically, ensuring that anesthesia, contagious disease, dentistry, pain management, surgery, and emergency care (i.e. all the really big important and potentially invasive areas of veterinary medicine) are monitored and evaluated to ensure they are performed correctly. This ensures that your pet is safe while at the hospital.

Following AAHA standards also means that even down the tiniest areas, our hospital is clean, sanitary and a safe environment for your pet. Hospitals that do not follow AAHA standards related to contagious diseases (of which there are many, transmittable to both humans and pets) put clients and pets at risk. AAHA standards help ensure that you and your pet will not be exposed to pets infected with contagious diseases (ask to see our isolation room!). Following AAHA standards we take every precaution to ensure that you and your pet our safe while visiting our hospital.

We are very proud of our accreditation and are honored that you choose to come to our facility for your pet’s medical care. Thank you for trusting us and we hope that if you have questions or your pet is ever in need that you will call or email us.



The Joys of Pet Adoption

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Why adopt a pet when you can purchase exactly what you want from a breeder or a pet store?  Here are a few reasons why!

  • You can feel good about putting a small dent in the pet overpopulation problem.
  • Every time you look at your new pet you will know that you saved two lives – your pet’s and the animal who will be able to take your pet’s place in the shelter.
  • You know what you are getting- if you take home an adult animal you know what size, temperament, and medical issues you might be taking on.
  • Most shelter animals come fully vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed/neutered.  One less thing to worry about!
  • You will know for a fact that you are not supporting puppy mills or other irresponsible breeders.
  • Your new pet will likely come potty trained and socialized!
  • When you adopt a pet you inspire others to do the same.

So, inspire us!  Share your adoption story with us in the comments section.  We can’t wait to hear about how you and your pets found each other!

Cataract Awareness Month

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

It’s August, and that means that it is cataract awareness month!  Educate yourself on this common pet problem by reading our FAQs.

What is a cataract?

The eye contains a clear lens that helps the eye to focus.  Any opacity that develops in the lens is a cataract.  Very small cataracts may not cause a problem at all, but larger, cloudier opacities can cause blurry or even totally obscured vision.

If my pet’s eyes are cloudy, does that mean it has cataracts?

Most pets will start to have some hardening of the lens as they age.  This results in a grayish-blue haziness to the eye.  This is NOT a cataract and does not usually interfere with vision.

Why did my dog/cat develop cataracts?

Most cataracts are inherited and can occur at any age and develop at any speed in one or both eyes.  Diabetes or other ocular diseases can also cause cataracts to develop.

What can be done about cataracts?

There is nothing that can be done to reverse a cataract once it has developed.  For certain patients, a veterinary ophthalmologist can perform a surgery in which the lens is removed.  This is a delicate and involved procedure, however it can restore vision almost completely.

What if I don’t do surgery?

Most pets do well even if they are blinded by cataracts.  They should be monitored closely, however, as cataracts can lead to painful glaucoma or luxation (displacement) of the lens.

What it Takes to be a Pacific Animal Hospital Veterinarian

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Growing up many of us dream of saving lives, getting to spend every day with cute animals, and wearing the prestigious white coat. Although these three aspects are true of the veterinary profession there is much more to this dream job than meets the eye!

Although a love and passion for animals is a definite prerequisite to becoming a veterinary it also takes good grades and determination, beginning in high school. A bachelor’s degree with a focus in life sciences (biology, zoology, anatomy, etc.) is highly encouraged. After completing an undergraduate degree, aspiring veterinarians must complete a four year graduate program. These extremely competitive programs (of which there are only 28 in the U.S –meaning about 2,500 new vets a year, compared to 19,000 new doctors a year) train students in animal anatomy, medicine, and disease prevention and management. Students also spend time in practical application, completing internships and opportunities to assist in surgeries and other procedures.

Just when they think they are done, students must become licensed. All 50 states and the District of Colombia require students to pass state and national exam boards, prior to their full accreditation as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Veterinarians are also required to maintain continuing education units (aka “CE”s). These CEs are a chance for veterinarians to learn new skills and keep up with ever changing research and practices.

After all the education and practical experience, veterinarians are then allowed to begin practicing animal medicine. The issue then becomes one of location. As an animal hospital, we look for a variety of qualifications in our doctors. Not only must they have an excellent academic record, but they must also have our core values at heart. These values focus on compassion, knowledge, honesty and trust. In addition, our doctors must have a focus on delivering the best possible care to each and every patient who walks in the door. Each of our doctors is selectively chosen for their knowledge and expertise, in addition to the above qualities. Below you can learn a little bit more about our doctors:

Dr. Attix has a special interest in soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, dentistry, pain management, and both canine and feline internal medicine. He prides himself in always taking time to meet with each patient and family, fully assessing their needs and then working with them to come up with the best treatment plan possible.

Dr. Caskey’s focus is in acupuncture, feline medicine, and internal medicine. She loves to meet with pet-parents and patients, getting to help and take care of each one in any way she can.

Dr. Halsey enjoys working with clients and their families. With a background in emergency medicine, Dr. Halsey moved to PAH for the chance to foster long-term relationships with families and to have the opportunity to see patients grow and develop.

Dr. Foltz, has a broad array of knowledge, but specializes in emergency medicine, neurology, and surgical procedures. His favorite part of being a doctor is the challenge of helping sick animals get healthy and the joy of keeping healthy pets well.

Dr. Fransioli, one of our new doctors, has a deep passion for cardiology and internal medicine. She loves to build long-term relationships with her patients and their parents. Her favorite part of being a veterinarian is the long term bond she develops with each patient.





Thank you to Colleen for her insider’s knowledge on what it’s like to be applying to and in veterinary school!

Is Crate Training for You?

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Most dogs can benefit from being trained to a crate.  However, there are some situations in which crate training may not be the best answer.


  • Dogs who are taught to rest calmly in a crate do better when they must travel, be groomed, must be confined at the veterinarian or for other health problems, and during emergency situations.
  • Crate training keeps dogs and puppies (and your property) safe when going through a destructive chewing phase or if they suffer from separation anxiety.
  • Dogs that have a familiar environment such as a crate do better during life changes such as a move, loss of a family member, or even re-homing.


  • Dogs with a medical condition such as arthritis often do better when they have more room to move around.
  • Dogs that have learned to be scared of their crate may worsen if forced to stay in it.  These pets can learn to like being crated again with some patient and professional training.
  • Pets that need to be left alone for long periods of time may do better at a doggy daycare or with a dog walker.  

The Dog Days of Summer

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Summertime means long days and lots of sunshine, leading to spending some extra time outdoors.  This can be a great opportunity to spend some extra time with your pet, however we must not forget that animals can overheat much more quickly than us humans.  Signs that your pet may be becoming overheated include:

  • Heavy panting or very heavy, deep breathing
  • Weakness
  • Confusion or inability to pay attention
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • As things progress pets may have shallow or slowed breathing, pale gums, and even exhibit seizures

Overheating can quickly turn to a life-threatening situation.  When you are outside with your pets always provide access to fresh water and shade.  Do not expect pets who are not used to being outdoors to be able to spend long amounts of time in the heat.  If you suspect that your pet may be overheated, please call us immediately.