Anal Sacs and such……



Trixie’s mom was concerned when Trixie stopped eating her food and drinking her water. She called us right away and stated that her happy, cuddly and affectionate friend was acting strange. Trixie was fine the day before; running with her furrends at the local Doggie Park and ate her dinner. One thing mom mentioned to us was that when she picked up Trixie, she yelped.  When they walked into PAH, Trixie walked in on her own, with big curious eyes.  Mom and dad dropped her off so the doctor could examine Trixie between appointments.  Once on the treatment table, Dr. Travis examined her from nose to tail. Once he got near her tail area, Trixie tucked her tail in suddenly and sat down.  Trixie was diagnosed with impacted anal sacs! This is quite painful for our pets and can occur abruptly.

Our pet’s anal sacs are located on both sides and slightly below their anus. They produce fluid with a distinctive odor.  Healthy anal sacs express, or empty out when they have a bowel movement. Unfortunately, some anal sacs don’t work as they due to allergies or other diseases.  If the anal sacs don’t empty properly, they can become impacted, making bowel movements difficult or painful, and potentially leading to infections or abscesses.Your pet may damage the delicate tissue/skin around the anus in his attempt to relieve his own discomfort. Signs of anal sacs irritating your pet are:  biting at his hind end area, scooting along the ground, bad odor and constipation or pain while trying to defecate. This can also occur in our feline friends too.

Not a happy camper!

Not a happy camper!








It is critical to have your veterinarian manually express, or squeeze out, the fluid they contain.   Anal sac disease begins as an uncomfortable impaction and can progress to an infection or abscess. Left untreated, the impaction will turn into an infection.  This painful condition can cause your pet to act fearful or angry. An untreated infection will develop into an abscess (a swollen, tender mass of pus) and could break open. Your vet will open and drain the abscess and usually prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Daily warm compresses can help, too.



Put your pets on a healthy diet and make sure they get plenty of exercise. Small, obese dogs are at the highest risk of anal sac disease. If your dog’s anal sacs get impacted frequently, ask your vet to recommend a high-fiber diet to create bulkier stools. If that doesn’t work, and if your dog has repeated infections or abscesses from impaction, talk to your veterinarian about options.  Also, at your pet’s 6 month checkup, please mention any signs your pet may have to the doctor.


Happy to say Trixie is feeling a lot better! She is on antibiotics now and will recover nicely.  Dr. Travis and Trixie’s mom talked about diets with more fiber and the question that baffles everyone….how did this occur so quickly?  The best thing Trixie’s mom did was follow her instinct and realize that Trixie was not herself.  She acted on it and brought Trixie in.  Who would have thought?  Pacific Animal Hospital is open 7 days a week for your convenience.  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call us!




Spa Day For Your Pets!



With our present beautiful weather, take advantage of it and give your pets a spa day! Cold or warm weather, it’s never a bad time to keep your pets coat and personal hygiene in check. A clean coat, trimmed sanitary area (long haired pets) and trimmed nails will not only make you happy, but your pet as well!  Playful pup or frisky kitty – they need baths from time to time.  Spa day any day!

Coat Care: During winter cold months (yes we do get them in San Diego!) keeping your pet’s coats clean and tangle free is good hygiene care for your pet. If your pet loves to be brushed, great!  For those that have pets that don’t like to be brushed, a groomer is your best choice for getting this done. If your pet has a long coat, make sure you start with the under coat first. You’d be surprised how much hair you collect! Your groomer can either thin out those long hair areas making it easier to maintain, or trim it down to a shorter length.  This will also help prevent matting. Mats not only make the coat look disheveled, they actually add to a dog’s distress and cause skin irritation.  When this happens, the dog bites at its skin or tries to scratch causing the mat to grow in size and the hair can get even more tangled. Small mats or knots are easy to remove if your pet is brushed daily or several times a week.  Larger knots form when a part of the dog’s coat has been neglected for some time. As for Kitty, it just may be tricky to do. If you have a long haired feline, it would be best and possibly safer to take kitty to a professional groomer.  Many cats do an amazing job cleaning themselves. However, if Kitty starts to smell a little ripe, if may be time for a bath.  As with all long haired pets, keeping a clean and trimmed inguinal area is important.  You don’t want their hair in the way when they do their business.

Inguinal area: for sanitary purposes, keep hair clean and tangle free, short around penis/vulva and anus area.









Shampoo:   There are many shampoos’ out there that can be dangerous for our fur babies.  Ask your veterinarian what type of shampoo would be best for your pet. Our pets have very sensitive skin and you want to stay away from those shampoos and conditioners that have certain ingredients that may be harmful to our pals.

Nails: Many pet owners don’t realize the importance of regular nail trimming. When nails get too long, several things can happen. A dog’s nails curve as they grow out. If they’re not trimmed, they’ll eventually curl and dig into sensitive paw pads and cause pain. Dewclaws are even more prone to this kind of curling and growing in. If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, you can imagine how painful that is for your precious companion.

When their nails dig painfully into their paw pads, they tend to compensate by resting their weight further back on the paw when walking. That awkward gait puts stress and strain on all the other muscles and joints. Neglecting your pet’s nails can have some unexpected serious consequences for your pet. Injuries that result from untrimmed nails range from torn nails to arthritis.





K9’s curled dewclaw. You don’t want this happen!




In addition, long nails are more likely to be torn or injured by impact or by catching in carpets, sweaters or upholstery. When that happens, the outer enamel of the nail can tear away and expose the inner tissue, called the “quick”. The quick is a fleshy bit of nerve and tissue that grows outward from the bone and is surrounded by the keratin that forms the claw and nail. The quick inside is easily injured, and when it’s deprived of its protective keratin, it’s prone to infection that can travel into the dog’s paw and blood. Regular trimming reduces the chance of injury and infection.


cat nail


Like dogs, cats have claws that grow in a curve and can curl under their paw pads if they’re left untrimmed. Trimming a cat’s claws offers extra benefits. Cats are notorious for destroying furniture by using the upholstery as a scratching post. Scratching is an instinctive behavior, and while most people think the intent is to sharpen the claws, there’s another reason that cats scratch your furniture. They have scent pads in their feet, and scratching is a way to mark their territory.

Trimming kitty’s claws is one far easier solution to the scratching problem. When you keep your cat’s claws trimmed short, it actually reduces the urge for them to claw furniture. Trimming the sharp point also allows the cat to “scratch” without destroying furniture and upholstery. In addition, keeping the claws trimmed reduces the chance that your cat will catch a claw in the screen or upholstery and injure itself trying to get away.


Soft Paws: Soft Paws are vinyl nail caps that are glued on to your pet’s existing nails. They look like a nail, only hollow. Dogs and cats tolerate them extremely well. Soft Paws are safe and non-toxic. The adhesive is the same type of adhesive used in many veterinary procedures. Soft Paws will not interfere with the normal extension and retraction of your cats nails. Your cat can still scratch with Soft Paws allowing normal stretching and scratching behavior to continue; just no damage will occur.The nail caps help protect you, your loved ones and your belongings from pets scratching, such as:Hardwood floors, doors, walls, screens, furniture and carpets.

The nail caps effectively blunt your pet’s nails so their ability to scratch surfaces is significantly reduced. If you have dogs that jump up and scratch, elderly family member with fragile skin, diabetics, people taking blood thinners, etc., you may want to consider Soft Paws.  Here at Pacific Animal Hospital, we will be more than happy to answer any questions you have on grooming, nail trimming and Soft Paws. All proudly done at PAH!  May you and your pet enjoy a lovely spa day every day ~ Happy Valentines Day!


tanya and felix


Felix comfortably allows Tanya to trim his nails and gets ready for his Soft Paws to be applied ~



Frustrating Urinary Issues With Your Pet?


Bladder infections, or urinary tract infections (UTI), occur when bacteria gains access to a pet’s urethra, causing your pet to have painful symptoms. Some people think that UTI’s occur mostly in cats, however, dogs are prone to bladder infections a well. Bladder infections can also come about from pre-existing illnesses.  The symptoms can include any of the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of interest in play or walks
  • Frequent urinationfrom excessive water drinking or weak bladder
  • Pus or blood in the urine
  • Abdominal distension
  • Dark, cloudy, and or foul-smelling urine
  • Change in urination habits (urinating indoors or in other inappropriate areas)
  • Self-isolation
  • Frequent licking of the genitals (or more frequent than usual)
  • Kitty staying inside his litter box for a while (straining)
  • Kitty urinating outside his litter box
  • Blockage of urine flow
  • Crying out in pain when trying to urinate
  • Bladder inflammation or infection
  • Injury to, or tumor in, the urinary tract
  • Stress



Urinary tract infections are usually caused by bacteria that are present in your pet’s environment, but can also present itself from a poor diet, lack of water, dirty water, young or old age, a low or inactive immune system, extremely high or basic pH levels in the urine, infrequent urination or incomplete urination.



If your pet is showing any of the previous symptoms, take him or her to your veterinarian immediately for a physical exam and urine test. Bladder infections have the same symptoms as cancer, diabetes and other illnesses, so it is absolutely necessary to see a veterinarian as soon as you can.

If you do not treat the symptoms of a bladder infection, the bacteria in your pet’s urinary tract can move towards your pet’s bladder and kidneys and seep into the blood stream, causing fevers, blood infections, and abdominal pain. Further complications can include kidney failure, internal abscess wounds, spinal conditions caused by blood infections, and other complications.



Princess, a PAH boarding guest loves her cuddle times! We change our feline friends litter boxes twice a day.  All guests have fresh clean water and are monitored throughout the day!






Your veterinarian will diagnose your pet with a bladder infection through a urine test and a physical exam. The physical exam includes a full examination of your pet’s bladder to determine whether it is tender or unusually firm.  Both symptoms of a bladder infection and the urine test will rule out other conditions. Once the test results come back, your veterinarian will guide you through the different treatment options.

Untreated urinary problems can cause partial or complete obstruction of the urethra, preventing your pet from urinating. This is a medical emergency that can very quickly lead to kidney failure and/or rupture of the bladder, and can prove fatal if the obstruction is not relieved right away.


There are also several underlying medical causes of recurrent UTI’s:

  • Conditions that alter immune function:  Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, diabetes and obesity
  • Kidney or prostate infections, kidney or bladder stones and bladder tumors
  • Neurologic problems
  • Steroid usage
  • Structural abnormalities of the genitalia or congenital urinary abnormalities



  • Provide plenty of clean water at all times
  • Change their water frequently
  • If your K9 is strictly indoors, allow your pet to urinate at least every 2-3 hours
  • Provide a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Provide a clean environment for your pet to urinate (i.e. litter box, outside potty areas).   As you know, our picky feline companions need a clean litter box to do their business or they will go somewhere else or start to hold it.
  • Keep your pet well groomed.  Sanitary trims will benefit them greatly!
  • Get annual checkups for your pet



Keep track of your kitty’s bathroom habits.  Difficulty urinating is a dangerous and common problem for our feline friends.  You won’t even notice it until it’s a serious issue.  If you are cleaning out your kitty’s litter box on a regular basis and notice there isn’t much wet clump in it, start to monitor kitty’s eliminations.

Tanya and her fur baby!

Tanya and her fur baby!










Urinary tract infections in dogs and cats are very serious, so you definitely want to get your pet to your vet as soon as symptoms arise in order to get a clear diagnosis and begin treatment!  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us. Pacific Animal Hospital is open 7 days a week and always welcome your call!

Dr. Gustafson looking for anything unusual......

Dr. Gustafson looking for anything unusual……