6 Nov

Canine Influenza Vaccine

Have you received the flu shot? What about your dog? Canine Influenza H3N2 & H3N8 can run rampant through kennels, clinics and dog parks, but can easily be transferred dog to dog just through touching noses, sniffing each other through the fence or going for walks. More then 100 cases have been reported in California with clinical signs although those numbers are likely much higher. Up to 80% of dogs who catch Canine Influenza get clinical signs and about 5-10% of those require veterinary care. Those symptoms can last for weeks. Just like the flu virus in humans, puppies, seniors or dogs with compromised immune systems can cause this virus to easily turn deadly.
Dogs with the vaccine can be protected against Canine Influenza and it shortens the length of time that your dog could be contagious. That can help slow its spread during an outbreak.
Why wait to treat the symptoms when we can protect your pet before it they have a chance to catch the virus?
Call us today to schedule your pet’s first Influenza vaccine. If he or she has never had it before, they will need one additional vaccine in 3-4 weeks and then just one vaccine annually.

30 Oct

Urinary Issues in Felines

Urinary Issues in Felines is More Common then you may Think


Cats can be known for their urinary issues, anything from spraying, inappropriate urination and even blockages. Male cats especially have a very small urethra making them prone to these issues. It’s important to monitor your cats output into their liter box, sometimes small amounts of urine or urinating in unusual places can be a sign you cat is on their way to an infection, or worse a blockage. Blockages can cause kidney damage in as little as 24 hours and in the worst case scenario death in as little as 48 hours.

Some Important Guidelines to follow to make sure you keep an eye on your cats urinary health
  •  Keep you little box clean, this is both important because, what cat would want a dirty litter box? But also to make sure you can quickly detect changes in their urine. If there is small amounts of urine, blood in the urine or no urine at all.
  • If your cat is urinating outside their box, bring them into a vets office before assuming it’s behavioral. Yes, Sometimes cats will urinate outside their box for behavioral issues, but we always want to eliminate any potential health issues first.
  • Help Keep your kitty hydrated. Did you know cats get 70% of their moisture from their food? So if you are feeding your cat strictly dry food which only has 5-10% moisture consider adding canned food to their diet, or mixing some water into their normal meals. Cats also tend to prefer moving water over still water bowls. Kitty Fountains are readily available online and in pet stores to help encourage your cat to keep Hydrated
  • Provide your cat with enrichment full environment. Often times stressed cats can have more urinary issues. Making sure your home provides stress relive to your cat is important. Toys, Tree Climbing, Places to hide and easy to access cat boxes.
  • If you have any concerns regarding your cats health give our office a call today 661-259-7387
    Photo provided is our patient recovering from surgery to help his urinary blockage issues.

28 Jun

Should you feed your pets a grain-free diet?

I’m thrilled that pet owners these days put a lot of thought into their pets’ diets. However, unfortunately, many pet owners have fallen for convincing marketing campaigns and trust that companies (not their vets!) will tell them what’s best for their pets.

Grain-free diets are one of the latest food trends to take off in pet care circles. Because of this, many owners now assume grains in pet food are just fillers and that foods without grains are somehow healthier and more “natural.” But there are no scientific studies that support the idea that grain-free diets are better for our pets than diets with grains.

For one thing, grains are not simply fillers! They provide necessary vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Many pet owners also believe grains are more likely to cause allergic reactions to foods, but grain allergies are very uncommon. If a pet has a food allergy, it’s most likely triggered by animal proteins like chicken, beef, fish or dairy.

Don’t let fancy marketing campaigns guilt you into thinking grains are automatically bad for your pets! A good diet is based on nutrient content, and many foods with grains are great options. Your pet’s diet is important, and if you need assistance selecting one, consult your Santa Clarita Animal Hospital veterinarian.

Dr. John Burkhartsmeyer

24 May

Found Kittens Recuperating at Santa Clarita Animal Hospital

Found Kittens Recuperating

A local resident recently found three kittens in a garbage bag hanging from a tree outside Castaic Sports Complex. These four-week-old orange cuties are currently recuperating at Santa Clarita Animal Hospital, and they’ll need homes soon!

KTLA came by to talk to us about the kittens and the care they’re receiving at our hospital. You can watch their coverage here!

We’re posting updates on the kittens on our Facebook page, so make sure to follow along to keep up with how they’re doing. If you’re interested in adopting one of these kittens once they’re healthy and ready to find homes, please give us a call at 661-259-7387 and ask for an application.

17 Apr

Canine Influenza Identified in Los Angeles County

As of April 7th, there have been 34 sick dogs reported to Los Angeles County. Five were confirmed by lab testing to have canine influenza, and the other 29 are still suspected to have canine influenza. These dogs, including 8 additional dogs that are healthy but have been exposed to the virus, are currently being quarantined.

Common symptoms of canine influenza include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Thick, greenish nasal discharge

Because of this outbreak, we encourage you to be extra vigilant in preventing canine influenza. If you suspect your pet has canine influenza, keep them away from all other pets. This disease spreads very easily, so keep your pet at home if they’re showing symptoms and call Santa Clarita Animal Hospital. Also, make sure your pet isn’t sharing food or water bowls, leashes, toys or any other supplies.

To prevent the spread of canine influenza, consider vaccinating your dog against the virus. Give Santa Clarita Animal Hospital a call at (661) 425-9912 to schedule your pet’s vaccination.

17 Apr

Look Out for Rattlesnakes as Weather Warms

As the weather warms, you and your pets are more likely to encounter rattlesnakes while out on walks. Snakes love basking in the sun, and they aren’t afraid of looking for a spot of warmth out in the open!

To prevent rattlesnake bites, always stay on groomed trails, and keep an ear out for that distinct sound of tails shaking. Keep your pet leashed and out of brush, where snakes like to hide.

If your pet is ever bit by a rattlesnake, seek emergency veterinary care immediately. Rattlesnake venom causes swelling and death of the tissue surrounding the bite, and your pet is more likely to recover when treatment begins quickly.

For more information, call Santa Clarita Animal Hospital at (661) 425-9912.

28 Mar

Easter Safety Tips

While they’re sure signs that Easter is on its way, fresh flowers and baskets full of pastel-colored candy also represent potential health risks for your pets! As you’re making your home festive for the holiday, make sure you keep these Easter-related treats away from your pets.

  • Lilies. Lilies can cause fatal kidney failure when cats ingest any part of them, even just the pollen! Either keep them up high away from nosy paws or keep them out of your house entirely.
  • Chocolate. The darker the chocolate is, the more poisonous it is to your pets, but they shouldn’t have access to any kind of chocolate. So hide those chocolate bunnies!
  • Plastic grass. If your Easter baskets are filled with bright green plastic grass, keep the baskets out of your pets’ sight so they aren’t tempted to chew (and potentially choke) on the fake grass. It looks real to them, but it can cause severe intestinal blockages.
  • Plastic eggs. Don’t forget where you hide your eggs! Pets could choke on shattered bits of plastic eggs or break them open and eat the candy inside.

If your pet ever ingests these substances or any other toxic items, call Santa Clarita Animal Hospital at (661) 425-9912 as soon as you can. We can advise you how to proceed.

28 Mar

The Five Vaccines Your Pets Need for Spring

There are numerous illnesses that become easier for our pets to contract when the weather warms and they head outside more often. Here are the five vaccines your pets should have updated as we head into spring and why they’re so crucial.

  1. Leptospirosis is a highly contagious zoonotic disease, meaning it can easily pass from animals to humans and vice versa. It’s transmitted most commonly through urine and contaminated water. Because we had a local case of leptospirosis last year, and because it poses a threat to your entire family, we highly recommend protecting your pet against this nasty bacteria.
  1. Rattlesnake venom. On warm days, rattlesnakes love basking in the sun, so it’s not uncommon for dog owners to encounter them while out on walks. To protect your pets, vaccinate them against rattlesnake venom, always remain on designated paths and keep an ear out for that distinctive sound of tails shaking.
  1. Rabies is a highly contagious virus, and it’s most commonly spread when an infected mammal bites another mammal. Common carriers include bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes and coyotes. The virus is devastating; if a pet becomes infected, they need to be quarantined for long periods of time, and it often leads to death. Outdoor activities are more likely this time of year, so vaccinate your pets before they could come in contact with any wildlife or other pets.
  1. Bordetella is the most common bacteria that causes kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease affecting our dogs. This vaccine is particularly important if you’ll be boarding or traveling with your pet, as it spreads very easily.
  1. Distemper is a viral disease most often passed along by dogs, wolves, foxes and raccoons. There is no cure for distemper, which is why vaccinating against it is so important.

To schedule your pet’s vaccines, give Santa Clarita Animal Hospital a call at (661) 425-9912.

29 Sep

Separation Anxiety During Back-to-School Season

Every year, back-to-school season brings about changes in our schedules. However, while we and our kids get used to our routines again fairly quickly, we still often forget that these changes affect our pets, too.

Dogs often struggle with their human companions being gone more often, and many pets suffer from separation anxiety. Some dogs are unable to cope with being alone, as being around their families makes them feel safe and comfortable. A dog usually presents signs of separation anxiety throughout the day when her family is gone, and a cat generally show signs after his owners have been gone for a few days at a time.

Signs of separation anxiety regularly include:

● Barking, whining or crying, usually rhythmically and in a higher pitch.
● Marking or other forms of inappropriate elimination in the house. Talk to your Santa Clarita Animal Hospital veterinarian to make sure this isn’t a sign of a different underlying health issue.
● Chewing items that smell like the owner or that the owner touches often, like clothing, couches, beds, cell phones, remotes, books and magazines.
● Drooling, shaking or pacing.

To help your pet get used to a schedule change:

● Give your pet things to do while you’re gone. Provide plenty of toys so your pet doesn’t feel bored and so she learns she can have fun when you’re not around, too.
● Don’t block your pet out of the entire house while you’re gone. Pets often escape confinement because they want to be near you, or at the very least, near your scent.
● Try to change your behavior when you leave and when you come home. Don’t shower your cat or dog with pets before you leave, and don’t act especially excited when you come home either. Keep your distance in these moments so your pet learns that you leaving and coming home is normal.

You can read more about pet separation anxiety here: http://source.colostate.edu/pet-health-back-to-school-time-can-trigger-separation-anxiety-in-pets/

If you need more help managing your pet’s behavior issues, schedule an appointment at Santa Clarita Animal Hospital by calling (661) 425-9912.