Parvo in Dogs Is On The Prowl

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Parvo Enteritis is an infectious disease caused by a virus. Animals like raccoons, wolves, and foxes can be infected, and parvo in dogs, cats and humans is equally common. It is a serious disease, but, fortunately, most times it’s preventable. That’s the take home message with this blog: preventing Parvo is way, way better than trying to manage it.

Don’t Risk It

The canine Parvovirus infects only dogs. It doesn’t pass to humans or cats. Humans and cats have their own strains of Parvovirus specific to their species.

Found in the stool and vomit of infected animals, parvovirus in dogs can be very dangerous. Hardy enough to survive on surfaces (even those cleaned with some chemical cleaners), parvovirus can be picked up by shared bowls, collars, leashes, bedding, as well as contaminated soil. It is resistant to extreme temperatures.

Parvovirus in dogs affects the gastrointestinal system and bone marrow. A few days after exposure, symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Foul-smelling diarrhea (typically bloody or mucousy)
  • Fever
  • Appetite loss
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Depression

Parvo infection is mostly an illness of young dogs. Commonly puppies are most at risk between 2 and 6 months of age.

Veterinarians diagnose parvo infection correlating presenting signs, blood screens a test of the stool that identifies the virus.

Dehydration often occurs quickly in a dog with parvovirus. Complications can include sepsis and a suppressed immune reaction by the bone marrow. Without supportive veterinary care, parvo in dogs can be fatal. There is no specific treatment for Parvovirus infection. Instead, supportive care focuses on controlling vomiting and diarrhea, managing the effects of dehydration and correcting electrolyte imbalance until the virus runs its course of 3-10 days typically. While cases vary, antibiotics are often used; not because they will help control the viral infection, because they won’t, rather, antibiotics are used to manage possible secondary bacterial infections that result from a compromised bowel.

The Best Medicine

Needless to say, Preventing parvovirus is a priority. The vaccination is extremely effective. Maintaining appointments for booster shots is imperative in the fight against parvovirus.

Additionally, keeping your young or immune-compromised dog from public places with unfamiliar dogs is also part of a good defense. Once the puppy vaccination series has been completed, they are much safer from this disease.

The cost of helping a dog recover from parvovirus is much greater than the cost of timely vaccinations. Vaccinations can save your dog’s life.

Stop Parvo in Dogs!

Call us at 707-553-1400 with any questions or concerns. Our veterinarians at Redwood Veterinary Hospital are always here for you.

The Value of Senior Pet Dental Health

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The majority of older pets have at least one health challenge. Some are simply age-related, such as arthritis or vision impairment, and there are many ways to help them attain comfort and safety.

Other medical problems are directly related to a pet’s day-to-day routine. For example, poor diet and lack of exercise may result in weight gain or diabetes. Similarly, inadequate attention to their teeth and gums can lead to periodontal disease. In fact, maintaining excellent senior pet dental health can positively impact their overall health.

A Strong Foundation

One of the best things that pet owners can do for their pets is get them used to having their teeth brushed. Over time, most of them enjoy the experience of brushing and even look forward to it.

Brushing a pet’s teeth can start as early in a pet’s life as possible (the younger the better, but all pets, regardless of age, benefit from brushing). This process stops plaque and tartar from gaining a foothold on the teeth and beneath the gums, and sets up a lifetime of dental health.

Worth Their While

If a pet reaches their golden years receiving weekly teeth brushing and annual teeth cleanings, it’s likely that they’ll be free of issues related to periodontal (gum) disease. This can mean that a pet may live longer, as the risk of developing systemic illness, like disease of the liver, heart or kidneys, is much lower.

Signs of Problems

Yellowed teeth and bad breath are usually the most common symptoms that senior pet dental care isn’t where it should be. Swollen, red, or bleeding gums can signal that a pet needs immediate attention to their teeth and gums. Left alone, a senior pet may suffer excruciating pain while eating, lethargy, or depression. Loose, broken, or missing teeth may also be noticeable.

Stop the Train

Periodontal disease is 100% preventable. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly (or at least once a week) can make a huge difference. Purchase a small soft-bristled toothbrush and your pet’s favorite flavored toothpaste (Never use human toothpaste). Reward them with loads of praise, head or ear scratches, and maybe a dental treat afterwards.

Additionally, at your pet’s wellness exam, we will look inside the mouth to address potential issues (remember senior pets should have two wellness exams a year). However, because periodontal disease affects the gums, we cannot always see problems beneath the gum line.

We Understand the Fear

Senior pet dental health hinges on routine professional cleanings. To do this safely and effectively, pets must be placed under anesthesia. We understand the fears that owners have, especially regarding their senior pets. We require certain tests before dental procedures to make sure that pets can handle the anesthesia. Furthermore, pets are monitored closely during the procedure.

Upholding Senior Pet Dental Health

In the long run, pets that receive regular attention to their teeth and gums suffer fewer oral health issues than pets that don’t get their teeth brushed or cleaned. Without a doubt, cleanings can be costly for some, and brushing takes up a significant amount of time. However, a pet with severe periodontal disease may require extensive surgeries to remove broken, dead or diseased teeth, and the internal organs may be at risk, as well.

Call us at 707-553-1400 with any questions or concerns about senior pet dental health.

Ultrasound Imaging: Only the Best for Your Pet

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At Redwood Veterinary Hospital we strive to be…well…the best. From our expert team to advanced technologies, and the passion we show for our work, we want to ensure that your pets receive the veterinary care and attention they need to help them live long healthy lives.

One way that we provide that extra quality is in our ability to offer our patients in-house ultrasound imaging. Not every animal hospital has this capability, and it’s one more way we feel that we are able to give our clientele the best that the San Francisco Bay area has to offer.

Why Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasound technology is not new. In fact, it was first used in the medical setting over 75 years ago. Recent technical advances have made ultrasound an indispensable diagnostic tool. Frankly, our doctors don’t know what they’d do without it.  That said, not all veterinarians are versed in, or have the equipment to perform, ultrasound exams. We are not the only hospital that offers ultrasound imaging. We are, however, among very few that offer such a high-level service in the general practice setting.

Ultrasound imaging uses harmless, inaudible sound waves to create real-time images and videos of structures within the body including abdominal organs and the heart. Ultrasound is considered complementary to radiographs (X-rays) as it provides different kinds of information. That’s why our clinicians often combine the results from X-rays and ultrasound to make an accurate diagnosis.

Dr. John Huebner has undergone extensive training specifically in performing and interpreting ultrasound imaging for pets and has a great deal of experience. In fact, after 30 years of being on the “front lines” at Redwood, he now limits his practice to ultrasound imaging. His expertise brings our hospital to the cutting edge when it comes to treating pets. While Dr. Huebner is not a Radiologist, his unique training allows us to identify those more complex cases that ultimately may need referral to Boarded specialists in diagnostic imaging or other medical specialties such as Internal Medicine, Surgery, Cardiology, and Oncology

Whether we are doing an abdominal or cardiac ultrasound, this type of diagnostic testing is very safe and non-invasive. In some cases, but not all, pets may need light sedation to help them relax during the procedure. A relaxed patient usually results in better images. Additionally, we often use ultrasound to guide fluid or tissue sample collection for a more accurate diagnosis.

How Your Pet Benefits

So how does your pet benefit from our ability to provide high quality abdominal and cardiac ultrasound?

  • Sooner availability (no outside referral necessary)
  • Faster answers when your pet is in pain or distress
  • Less stress for your pet since no additional drive is necessary
  • More accurate and timely diagnoses
  • Ability to provide more targeted therapy, especially in the case of heart problems
  • Ease of collaboration amongst DVMs in the practice
  • Chance to go back and obtain subsequent scans easily

Time is often essential when it comes to veterinary problems in our pets. Our ability to provide this type of diagnostic testing on-site can make a huge difference in many cases.

Whether it be heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, concerns about blood test results, or a plethora of other problems, we know that our ability to provide your pets quality and timely ultrasound imaging under our roof makes a difference. If you would like to make an appointment to experience our kind of care, contact us today.

Why the Wait? A Look at Veterinary Care During the Pandemic

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Life changed for all of us last year. By adapting to strict safety measures and enforcing new protocols, essential businesses like ours were able to continue serving the community. But veterinary care during the pandemic looks—and feels—vastly different than before. We’re doing what needs to be done, but for various reasons pet owners are facing longer than usual wait times.

A Dramatic Shift

To maintain the safest environment for our staff, we’ve restricted the amount of visitors inside the hospital. Like other industries, veterinary staff has been affected by Covid’s effect on family dynamics. With schools closed and many multi-generational households trying to stay safe, some professionals have opted to remain at home.

Remaining staff members take more time to clean and disinfect hospital areas to ensure the next patient is as safe as possible. They are also relied on to take extra time on the phone with pet owners to discuss treatment plans, process payments, go over test results, and prescribe medications.

The Extra Mile

Another reason that veterinary care during the pandemic might take longer than before is because of the ways we now see patients.

We are utilizing curbside drop-offs and socially distanced appointments that can take more time than our typically streamlined schedule of in-person visits. Our dedicated staff members bring pets into and out of the hospital, and address any issues or answer questions over the phone. All of this means that more time is needed to achieve the same quality of care your pet deserves. This can make it harder to squeeze in as many appointments as we’d like.

We remain committed to accommodating our clients and strive to deliver the highest caliber of veterinary care possible.

A New World

Adding to the operational challenges is the fact that there are just so many more pets in the community now. With people sheltering in place and staying home as much as possible, the need for animal companionship skyrocketed last year. This is great news for animal shelters (and for pets and their new owners alike!), but this increase of adopted pets means that veterinary hospitals are backed up to provide the care they need.

Veterinary Care During the Pandemic

Perhaps you’ve noticed an uncharacteristic lag in someone getting back to you, or haven’t been able to schedule a prompt appointment for your pet. Like many other veterinary hospitals across the country we are doing the best we can to keep up with the increased demand for veterinary care during the pandemic.

We are determined to uphold the highest veterinary standards while balancing staffing shortages, illness, and safety. It isn’t easy, but we are heartened by the support and understanding of our beloved community. We are all in this together.

Squeaky Clean Kitty: How to Groom Your Kitten for Good Hygiene

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When a kitten is very young, you have likely witnessed the mother cat constantly grooming the youngsters with her tongue. She pays careful attention to their daily care and grooming. It is her natural instinct to do so. But once a kitten is adopted out or is otherwise away from their mother, is it still necessary to take care of the kitten’s hygiene?

Many new kitten owners ask us about this very important issue. This is why the team at Redwood Veterinary Hospital is here to provide you some tips on how to groom your kitten with care and ease. Keep reading to learn more!

Kitten Hygiene 101

There are several things to consider when caring for a new kitten, such as safety around the home, proper nutrition, and yes – keeping them clean. Since cats are fastidious self-groomers, you may not consider grooming your kitten to be a priority, but it is. Like most babies, kittens and puppies aren’t adept at doing the things they rely on their mamas to accomplish, which is why you must be their surrogate mother.

As your kitten grows into adulthood, they will be able to navigate those difficult to reach places like the head and behind. In order to keep your sweetie clean and healthy, follow some of these easy cleaning tips.

  1. Gather a washcloth that is soft and doesn’t become abrasive when wet, a gentle kitten shampoo, some tissues, and a fluffy, dry towel.
  2. Using a damp, warm (not hot) washcloth with a dab of shampoo, start cleaning your kittens back. Using top to bottom strokes. Ensure your kitten doesn’t get too soapy, as this will be harder to get out.
  3. If your kitten is comfortable, move to their head and face, working your way down the neck. Avoid getting shampoo and water in their eyes, as this can be irritating and cause discomfort.
  4. Continue washing down the torso, legs, and under the tail.
  5. Make sure that your kitten is free of any soap residue. You may want to place them in a very shallow pan of warm water to ensure they are rinsed.
  6. Grab your soft towel and gently pat dry your kitten. Stay in a warm place in the home with them until the fur is dry and they are comfortable.

Caring for Your Kitten’s Coat

Daily brushing or combing is a great way to encourage good coat health. Find a soft brush or comb designed for kittens. Brush your kitten in the direction of fur growth to remove any dead fur or tangles. Don’t pull on the fur, though. This gentle daily routine can help you bond with your kitten as well as keep their coat shining.

Trimming the Nails

Work with your veterinarian on how to trim your kitten’s nails and how much. We recommend using a guillotine type nail clipper for cats and only trim the very ends of your kitty’s nails to avoid cutting into the quick, or the pink portion of the nails that contain blood vessels.

Ears, Eyes, and Nose

These sensitive parts of your cat’s anatomy also get dirty more often. Use a warm, wet cloth and dab around your kitten’s eyes to remove any debris. Keep the nose dry and clean by dabbing a cotton ball or clean rag around the nose.

The nose should be moist and cool to the touch without excess discharge. To clean your kitten’s ears (which don’t need to be done more than once or twice a month), use a gentle ear cleanser for cats. Squirt a tiny amount of the cleanser in the canal and use a cotton ball (never a Q-tip) to clean up around the entry of the ear.

Brushing Your Kitten’s Teeth

Getting your kitten used to a regular tooth brushing routine is a wonderful step you can take to contribute to lifelong oral hygiene and dental health. It’s actually easier to get a kitten started off on a tooth brushing routine than an adult cat, so keep this in mind as good motivation.

Find the toothbrush that is designed for young kittens, as well as a cat formulated toothpaste. There are several good instructional videos on brushing a kitten’s teeth online and we invite you to come in with your sweet kitten for their wellness checkup so we can show you the ropes.


If you have questions or concerns about grooming your kitten or maintaining the best health possible for them, please call us. We look forward to meeting your cute little companion soon.

Dog Walk Etiquette: Training Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

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When you live in any community, big or small, it is necessary to keep your dog on a leash when you are out in public. It seems easy, right? Unfortunately, many dogs resist the leash and it can be a struggle to have a pleasant walk when they are squirming and miserable. The case for leashes is important, though, to keeping your pet and others safe. It’s a necessary part of training your dog, in fact.

This is why your friends at Redwood Veterinary Clinic are here to give you some expert tips on training your dog to walk on a leash. Let’s get going!

Tips for Training Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

Leash walking is something all dogs need to know, whether they spend a lot of time outdoors or not. In fact, municipal laws dictate that dogs should be on leashes when they are in any public areas that are not deemed off leash dog parks.

There are some basics to know before you venture out with your bestie.

  1. Choose the right leashWe recommend a harness and leash system when you are training a puppy or leash resistant dog. It gives you more control while training and prevents any injuries to the neck and trachea. These should be used for tiny breeds for safety. However, a traditional leash and collar are fine if they are made of sturdy nylon or leather. Avoid retractable leashes as they have been known to cause injury.
  2. Start in the backyard Instead of taking your dog right downtown, avoid noisy and busy areas by practicing in the backyard, getting your dog used to the feeling of being on a leash. Use your commands, such as “sit” and “stay” to see how well they respond. Move to the front yard, then around the block when they continue to gain confidence.
  3. Stop and start Any time your pet starts to get antsy or pulls, get them to sit down. Stay until they are calm, then say, “let’s go” and continue on your path. Wait for them to calm down each time before moving forward. This will train them to know that they can only move when they aren’t pulling ahead.
  4. Cross over when you see other dogs – If your pet reacts to dogs or other animals, cross  the street when you see them approach. Likewise, move your dog over to a lawn and have them sit until the other animal has passed by with their owner.
  5. Turn around when there is trouble brewing If your dog reacts to another dog, person, squirrel, or any animals in the midst, turn and go. This avoids any negative interactions with others and gets your pet’s attention to rest on you once again, rather than the trigger.
  6. Reward your pet While you are training them to walk on a leash, give them a small treat as a reward. Each time they follow a command or walk without pulling, give them verbal praise and a treat. (Extra points when they behave while a pesky squirrel runs by!)

The Leash Reactive Dog

Some dogs are prone to escape or resistant to a leash when on them. In some dogs, it can be a fear or phobia for them to feel confined in any way. There are certain causes for this behavior, including:

  • Lack of training with basic commands
  • Undersocialization
  • Fear of strangers, other animals, noise, etc.
  • Traumatic experience in their development
  • Frustration over one too many stimuli in their surroundings
  • Other dogs that are off leash can create tension and fear

If your dog isn’t jibing with the leash, please reach out to us. We can offer suggestions and a behavioral consult for your pup.

Success with Leash Walking

With a lot of practice and consistency, your dog will soon learn how to walk on the leash with ease. Much of this requires practice, understanding triggers or barriers to your training, and redirecting your dog with rewards based training.

If you have any questions about leash walking your best friend, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us.