Your Car is an Oven!


You’ve heard of it, you knew it affected people, and you were even vaguely aware that it could affect your pet. But how does it happen? And most important, how can you help your pet avoid it? Heatstroke is a deadly disease that can kill your beloved companion, even with emergency treatment. The best way to avoid this terrible situation is prevention, and it’s all up to you.

Sun + humidity = heatstroke (and other factors that kill)

Everyone knows that the inside of a car on a hot summer’s day can be lethal. But Fido needs you to know more than that to keep him safe in the deadly sun. Days above 90 degrees, especially with high humidity, are inherently dangerous for your pet. Humidity interferes with animals’ ability to rid themselves of excess body heat. When we overheat we sweat, and when the sweat dries it takes excess heat with it. Our four-legged friends only perspire around their paws, which is not enough to cool the body. To rid themselves of excess heat, animals pant. Air moves through the nasal passages, which picks up excess heat from the body. As it is expelled through the mouth, the extra heat leaves along with it. Although this is a very efficient way to control body heat, it is severely limited in areas of high humidity or when the animal is in close quarters.

The shape of an animal’s nasal passages can contribute to an animal’s tendency to overheat. Brachiocephalic (pug-nosed) dogs are more prone to heatstroke because their nasal passages are smaller and it’s more difficult for them to circulate sufficient air for cooling. Overweight dogs are also more prone to overheating because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities. Age can also be a factor in an animal’s tendency to overheat–very young animals may not have a fully developed temperature regulating system, and older pets’ organ systems may not be functioning at 100 percent, leaving them prone to heat-related damage.

Cracking the windows doesn’t cut it

So where are the danger zones? The most obvious is your car: It can become a death trap even on a mild sunny day–and can insidiously raise the car’s temperature to well above 120 degrees! Never, ever leave your pet inside the car. If your pet can’t come with you when you get out of the car, leave him at home.

What are some other dangerous situations for your pets? Leaving animals outdoors without shelter is just as dangerous as leaving them inside a hot car. Be sure they are not left in a cage in the hot sun, on a chain in the backyard, or outdoors in a run without sufficient shade or air circulation.

To read more visit the articles source at the American Animal Hospital Association’s website.

Courtesy of the American Animal Hospital Association.

All About Feline Heart Disease

Eddie Garcia, D.V.M.

Eddie Garcia, D.V.M. – Clinic Director at Veterinary Medical Clinic


Cardiomyopathy, which literally means “disease of the heart muscle,” is one of the most common problems to affect the feline heart.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of feline cardiomyopathy.

In addition to not being able to pump enough blood, the heart of a cat affected by HCM can suffer other abnormalities. Blood clots can form in the upper chamber of the heart, the left atrium. Unable to empty properly into the left ventricle, the left atrium becomes enlarged with extra blood, which begins to sludge and then clot. The resulting “atrial clots” or pieces of them, might then be pushed into the cat’s bloodstream. The risk that a clot might lodge in a smaller blood vessel is great; one of the most common sites for such an event is the area where the aorta splits at its end to supply blood to each rear leg. When a clot lodges here, the cat becomes acutely paralyzed in one or both back legs. The condition is very painful and often results in death or euthanasia.

Another potential complication of HCM is that the added muscle mass of the heart can predispose a cat to an arrhythmia, an abnormal heartbeat pattern that can potentially cause sudden and unexpected death.

Detection can be very difficult, especially early in the course of disease when clinical signs are absent or subtle at best. Careful examination by a veterinarian might possibly reveal a rapid heart rate, perhaps accompanied by a heartbeat irregularity called a gallop rhythm.

Other form of heart murmurs might also suggest the need for a more extensive cardiology examination that could lead to a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy.

As the heart disease progresses, the signs of it become more dramatic. A cat might be presented to a veterinarian because he is having trouble breathing. Cats with heart failure often have difficulty breathing as the heart begins to fail and the lung tissue and/or chest cavity fills with fluid that seeps from the backed-up veins.

The most dramatic symptom of cardiomyopathy is the sudden death of a cat whose symptoms have gone undetected and whose illness is undiagnosed.

Abnormalities detected during a physical examination can arouse a veterinarian’s suspicion that cardiomyopathy exists, but a definitive diagnosis requires examination of the heart itself. Radiographs (X-rays) can demonstrate the “valentine” shape of the dilated heart of DCM.

An electrocardiograph (ECG) can be employed to detect whether any life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia exist.

Blood test may help identify impairment of major organs that has resulted from a lack of oxygen supply, or from clot formation. A urinalysis can detect concurrent urinary system disease, which may complicate therapy.

The treatment for cardiomyopathy depends on the form diagnosed and the state of disease. Therapy really does depend on the severity of the clinical signs, the body’s reaction to the disease, and the patient’s ability to compensate.

Older cats, especially those middle-aged males who are most at risk, may also successfully hide their symptoms until it’s too late to help them. Those cats whose caretakers are aware of the existence of cardiomyopathy and work with their veterinarian to assess their cat’s risk stand the best chance of surviving this significant heart disease when it does occur.

Don’t Ignore Warning Signs of Cancer in Pets

Eddie Garcia, D.V.M.

Eddie Garcia, D.V.M. – Clinic Director at Veterinary Medical Clinic

Cancer is the ungoverned growth of cells on or within the body. The terms “cancerous” and “malignant” are synonymous. The term “tumor” refers to a cancerous local growth. Tumors are characterized by rapid growth and local invasion into surrounding tissues. Tumors may also metastasize, that is spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to distant sites within the body. The lungs are a very common site for tumor metastasis. The prognosis for tumors is often most dependent on whether they have metastasized prior to the diagnosis.

Many signs of illness would prompt a suspicion of cancer among a host of other problems.

Cancer warning signs include foul odor, persistent lameness, difficulty urination or defecating, abnormal growth, weight loss, bleeding, wounds that won’t heal, difficulty breathing, weakness and lethargy.

Fatigues is definitely a sign to watch out for that most people might miss.

To catch the disease in the early stages, dog & cat owners need to be alert to changes in their pet’s behavior and seek medical care as soon as possible. By the time cancer is discovered, it can be fairly advanced, and a cure isn’t always possible.

There are no preventive measures to ensure your dog doesn’t get cancer, but spaying before the first heat will almost completely remove the risk of mammary cancer. Testicular tumors in dogs are common, but when dogs are neutered, the risk is eliminated.

Breeds at Risk

Certain breeds seem more susceptible to inherited types of cancer. In some forms of cancer, body type is also important. Larger or giant breeds have a higher incidence of bone cancer. Dogs with dark skin are more susceptible to melanomas.

Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers are at risk for lymphoma and osteosarcoma. Scottish Terriers and Shelties are susceptible to bladder cancer. Bernese Mountain dogs tend to contract lymphoma, mast cell tumors and histiocytosis, a rare cancer, which oncologists treat with chemotherapy and radiation.

Cancer is not one disease, so the breed and cancer associations are endless.

Today cancer is now one of the most common causes of death in pets.

Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine

Holiday Pet Hazards

Eddie Garcia, D.V.M.

Eddie Garcia, D.V.M. – Clinic Director at Veterinary Medical Clinic

Holiday Pet Hazards Article by Eddie Garcia, D.VM. – Clinic Director at Veterinary Medical Clinic and Feline Wellness Center

The following is a list of the common holiday hazards that bring many pet owners to veterinary clinics.  All of them can be avoided with some simple precautions.         

Chocolate:  It is in our baking projects as well as in wrapped gifts that end up under the tree.  Pets often get into chocolate by chewing into a wrapped gift, the contents of a person may not even be aware.  To avoid what may be a fatal exposure, keep all chocolate out of reach, never place wrapped chocolate under a holiday tree and don’t be shy about asking gift givers if a gift they place under your tree contains any chocolate.  The stimulants that give us the “chocolate buzz” can cause diarrhea, vomiting and fatal heart arrhythmias in our furry friends.

Antifreeze:  Commonly used in the winter holiday months as we prepare our automobiles for cold weather.  Products containing ethylene glycol are fatal when even small amounts are swallowed.  Because they are typically sweet in taste, many dogs will drink antifreeze straight or in puddles combined with water.  Cats may walk through it and then lick the antifreeze off their paws.  Permanent, irreversible kidney damage results from these exposures and can be fatal.  Prevention is simple if you clean spills immediately and purchase newer products that don’t contain ethylene glycol.  They are marked “pet safe.”

Many of our favorite holiday foods contain more fats and bones than foods we eat the rest of the year.   Giving fats and bones can trigger bad cases of stomach upset or can result in life threatening obstructions or pancreatitis.  It’s helpful to keep extra “safe” treats around the house during the holidays so that you can cheat with extras that won’t be a threat to your pet’s health.

Weather:  If a pet is going to spend considerable time outdoors in the cold, it may have a higher calorie requirement; so a little extra food may be warranted.  Whenever it is 30F or colder, bring in all animals to prevent frostbite.

Ornaments:  Many animals will eat tree ornaments, tinsel and candles.  Prevent hazards by keeping young, unsupervised puppies out of harm’s way of all ornaments and use care when burning candles so that tails and long hair don’t accidentally cause fire hazards.  Never leave a candle burning on a coffee table with unsupervised pets.  Sweep up any broken ornaments immediately and vacuum well to prevent exposure to sharp shards.

If you follow these simple recommendations, you and all of your pets should enjoy a peaceful and healthy holiday season.

For more information on Holiday Pet Hazards you can visit the following resources:

Cost of Veterinary Care

Sometimes pet owners wonder about the costs of providing quality veterinary care for their pets. Although each individual case is unique, these questions and answers offer valuable insight.


Why is veterinary care for my pet(s) so expensive these days? Sometimes I believe I’m spending more on my pet’s health care than on my own.


Relatively speaking, veterinary care is a great deal. The cost of veterinary care has actually risen very little during the last 20 to 30 years. When compared to the rising cost of human health care, pet care is not at all unreasonable.

Bear in mind that your veterinarian is not only your pet’s general physician, but also its surgeon, radiologist, dentist, dermatologist, neurologist, ophthalmologist, psychiatrist, ears/nose/throat doctor, and pharmacist.

Your veterinary bill is a reflection of the costs of maintaining suitable facilities, equipment and support personnel to provide the level of care that is expected in animal medicine today. Remember too that the original cost of the animal has no bearing on the cost of services rendered.

Although it may feel as if you are paying more for your pet’s health care than your own, chances are that you probably have adequate health care insurance for your own needs. Consequently, you may never see the total bottom-line figure for your own doctor bills. When human health care costs are added up-including insurance, deductibles, and pharmaceutical costs-there is no comparison to the much lower veterinary care costs.

The American Animal Hospital Association strongly suggests that all pet owning families assess their financial situation and consider their ability to meet unexpected expenses that may be incurred for veterinary care. For some families, these expenses may be met through existing savings. Others may be able to use credit card reserves or medical payment cards. Some families should consider budgeting for these expenses and still others may want to consider protecting themselves through pet health insurance policies.

Today, pet health insurance is available to offset the costs of your furry friends’ medical expenses. The American Animal Hospital Association is not affiliated with any pet health insurance company but for those considering pet health insurance, AAHA offers the following suggestions:

  • Be sure you understand what the policy covers. Some policies (but not all) cover some preventative care, such as vaccinations, but there may be additional cost for this coverage.
  • Understand the exclusions. Almost all policies exclude pre-existing conditions and some exclude hereditary conditions. Some may exclude certain conditions unique to certain breeds.
  • Almost all policies have a deductible and a co-pay requirement. Some pay according to a set schedule of “usual and customary fees” while some pay based on the actual incurred expense. Be sure you understand how expenses will be reimbursed.
  • Ask whether or not the policy allows you to seek care from a veterinarian of your own choosing or whether you must go to a veterinarian that participates in the company’s network of providers. When faced with a pet’s serious illness, most pet owners want to be able to obtain care from their regular veterinarian.
  • Speak with your veterinarian or someone on her practice team. While veterinarians do not sell insurance, chances are they have had experience with the policy you are considering and can provide helpful advice.

Again, veterinary care can provide your pet with many years of healthy and happy life. Managing the expense of veterinary care can be done in a number of ways; the important advice is to think about it before the need arises.


Isn’t the cost of veterinary medicine ridiculously high? It’s just animal health care, not human health care. I thought my doctor really cared and would go the extra mile for me and help me out with this.


You would never expect your own physician to provide a diagnosis, care and medication free of charge. You cannot ask your veterinarian to do this for your pet. The extent of care given to any animal is ultimately determined by its owner. As a responsible pet owner, you place a high value on your animal and will want to consider what’s best for your pet.

Every pet owner has different ideas about what is acceptable pet care. Veterinarians can only make their clients aware of the services and products that are available and then provide guidance in their choices and decisions. The owner is given options; the owner makes the call and the owner may ask for an estimate of the charges.

Your veterinary bill is a reflection of the cost of maintaining suitable facilities, equipment, and nursing personnel to provide the level of care that is expected in animal medicine today. Ask your veterinarian for an estimate before proceeding with treatment. If you have concerns about fees, AAHA strongly encourages you and the medical director or practice manager of that practice to discuss your concerns.

It’s important to understand that most veterinarians can and will go the extra mile for their clients, but they simply cannot jeopardize the quality of their business by waiving fees. Veterinarians must cover their employees’ salaries, costly equipment, the expense of years of professional training, and the expense of continuing education for staying up-to-date on the latest research. When veterinarians subsidize clients’ bills, they are endangering their practices.

Article provided by the American Animal Hospital Association (

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