4 Secrets Your Vet Isn’t Telling You

Sometimes veterinary medicine can feel a lot like a magic show. You bring in your pet, the veterinarian examines your pet, your pet goes “behind the door,” and magically comes back better. Thankfully, there is actually quite a bit of science to the “magic” that happens to your pet while they are at the veterinary hospital. In addition to the science of the magic, there is also a lot of love that goes into the magic your veterinarian performs to help your pet get better. Although we cannot share everything in this blog, here are 4 secrets to the magic that happens when your pet sees the veterinarian:

Lisa and Marlie writing Marlie’s record together!


  1. It’s not just about your pet. In addition to looking, feeling, and examining your pet, a good doctor also checks in with you. How are you feeling about your pet? Do you appear worried or anxious? The doctor can tell a lot about what is going on with a pet, just by watching a parent. Doctors, like ours at PAH, also worry a lot about the pet’s family long after everyone leaves the hospital. The “follow up” phone calls and emails are just as much to see how you are as they are to see how your pet is doing.
  2. Hard news is hard to hear, and hard to give. Veterinarians are 99% of the time also pet owners, and know what it feels like to hear bad news. They deliver bad news on a regular basis and have trained their bodies and minds to react a certain way, both so they can relay all the needed information to you, and to be there to support your emotional needs. That being said, it is still the worst part of the job for any veterinarian or technician, so we may shed tears with you, hug you, or call you later to see if you are ok.
  3. Pets feel pain. Studies have shown that pets really do feel pain. As advocates, fellow pet-parents, and medical professionals, we want to be sure your pet is as comfortable as possible. Although we can’t speak for every hospital out there, at PAH we will always put your pet’s comfort as our top priority. We use “less is more” techniques for all pet restraints, all surgical procedures are performed with pain medications and anesthesia, and even our treatment area workstations have padded and textured counters so your pet isn’t resting on cold metal.
  4. Biggest mistake is waiting too long. This is both a secret and one of the things our doctors want to tell every client. If you are concerned at all about something going on with your pet, call and come right down to the hospital. The veterinarian stands a much better chance of saving your pet’s life if they have time to diagnose and deliver treatment. When in doubt call or come in!


Although there is much, much more to the science and love that goes in to veterinary magic, hopefully this little taste will keep you satisfied until next weekend’s post. In the meantime, if your pet is due for their wellness exam, medical treatments, or you have any concerns don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Keeping Pets Safe Today and Forever!

This is a very special Saturday, and unless you also happen to celebrate all of the pet-related national holidays you may not even know it exists. Today is national puppy mill awareness day!

All pets, regardless of where they come from, receive the best of care at PAH!  (photo not of puppy mill pup, just Shawn and a super cute PAH patient) 

What is a puppy mill?

Puppy Mill is actually a slang term created to describe the breeding of dogs for profit on a high-volume or commercial level. Profit is the name of the game, but quality of life for the pets is not. Puppy mills are not to be confused with reputable breeders, who care for the pets and their quality of life. Pets bought through the Internet, at pet stores, or random people who seem to “always have puppies” are sure signs that you may be dealing with a puppy mill.

Why should I not buy a puppy mill pet?

Health: Pets from puppy mills are notorious for having health problems. Although a very long list, some of the common health problems include: hip dysplasia and skeletal weakness, organ failure, and epilepsy.  In addition, many puppy mill pets will arrive to pet stores or your home with above average numbers of parasites, some of which are deadly if not treated quickly.

Wellbeing: Puppy mill pups are known for being removed from their families at very young ages, when socialization and development are most important. Only to then spend much of their puppy months isolated and alone away from their original animal family and without much human contact.


What can you do about puppy mills:

Stopping puppy mills and the associated animal abuse is all about action. Spend your money on pets from shelters or reputable breeders, and do not support companies or pet stores that support puppy mills.

Take Action: Over the past decade the number of puppy mills has decreased and continues to decline, mainly in part to advocacy and buying choice.

Consider adoption as your first way to fight against puppy mills. Very frequently purebred pets will end up in shelters or in the care of breed-specific rescues.

If you do decide to purchase from a breeder, meet them and view where the pets are living. Check out this ASPCA article for more information on what to look for in a breeder.

Spend this Saturday doing a little advocacy and lobbying. Research your city and state’s stance on commercial breeding. Contact your state and local representatives and let them know you want to live in a puppy-mill free state, city, and nation!

If you live in San Diego, be proud! The city of San Diego is one of several major cities to have banned the sale of pets at pet stores in an attempt to decrease the demand of puppy mill pets.

If you have further questions or would like more information, be sure to check out these great resources:


One Green Planet

Pet Adviser

Hot Spots: Not as cool as they sound

Although the name “hot spot” sounds like a great new restaurant in Oceanside or perhaps the new nightclub in downtown San Diego, unfortunately a hot spot is actually quite painful and unpleasant. Just like the trendy new nightclub, a hot spot on your pet can seemingly appear out of nowhere.

What is a hot spot?

A hot spot, or moist eczema, is essentially a sore on your pet. They can range in size, shape, and location. The cause of hot spots can vary, but basically anything that irritates or opens the skin, leaving it exposed to bacteria, can start a hot spot.

The initial irritant can then be exacerbated by:

A common spot for hot spots, under the ear, this pup knows first hand how uncomfortable a hot spot can be. This pup’s parents acted fast and the pup is receiving care from the PAH doctors and staff.

  • Licking
  • Biting
  • Scratching
  • Rubbing against something sharp or further irritating

Once the hot spot is started, the hair around the area will work to trap moisture and allow the infection to worsen. Hot spots can be extremely painful to your pet and do require treatment to help alleviate.


Treatment of hot spots:

The level of treatment needed will also vary pet to pet and hot spot to hot spot. In general, your veterinarian will take the following steps to help your pet’s hot spot heal.

  1. Shave away the hair in the area. Removing the excess hair will help to lessen the moisture in the area, and help keep the infection from worsening
  2. Clean the wound and surrounding area. To help stop and prevent further infection, an antiseptic will be used.
  3. If the hotspot may have been associated with something itchy, such as a fleabite, your veterinarian will give your pet medications to help stop the itching and kill the fleas.
  4. Using a cone may be necessary to help keep your pet from itching, biting, or scratching at the area.
  5. Monitor the area, give the medications and ensure that it is not worsening. If at any point the wound appears to be growing or worsening, see a doctor immediately. Remember, a wound of any type or size is painful, even if your pet appears to act normally.


Hot spots are very painful and can worsen quickly. If you think your pet has developed a hot spot, please call your veterinarian as soon as possible.