Risk of Canine Influenza in Northern California

While there was an outbreak of canine influenza in Southern California earlier this year, and another case just this month, we have yet to hear about any in Northern California. Nevertheless, your pet may be at risk so it is important to minimize the likelihood of infection and understand how the illness presents and progresses. Because there have been several outbreaks of the virus across the country in recent years, many believe it’s just a matter of time before we see cases of canine influenza in Northern California.

What is Canine Influenza: Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Currently, there are two known strains of the virus (H3N8 and H3N2). This disease is relatively new to the United States, with cases first documented in 2004. [Read more…]


Can you tell what you’re looking at???  Here’s a hint, you’re looking at something that does not belong in the body.  If you are a lucky pet owner that has not had to deal with foxtails or if you are new to the west coast, you are looking at the ultrasound image of a foxtail under the skin!  Summer is upon us and in the hospital our doctors and staff know that means it is foxtail season.

Foxtail grass is a tall grass that grows commonly in the western United States.  Foxtails are the barbed seed of the grass and they are very prominent in the spring through the summer.  While romping around in a grassy field is fun and a great form of exercise, these pesky seeds are notorious for causing big problems for our pets.

The foxtail seeds have barbed ends.  These barbs enable the seed to burrow into the skin of an animal.  These barbs enable the seed to burrow in one direction, so once they embed into the skin they continue in a forward motion. [Read more…]

Is Your Pet Hurting Silently (Part 3)

Pain can be very debilitating to most patients and we try everything we can to prevent it. Acute or surgical pain can be prevented with a preemptive plan starting before the surgery begins. After receiving a complete physical examination the morning of their surgery our patients are provided with a individual pain prevention plan. This can include a combination of pain injections before anesthesia begins, a local block at the site of the surgery, analgesic medications in a constant rate infusion drip during surgery, extended injections after surgery and a safe combination of oral medications for the family to give at home. We also have cryotherapy and laser therapy that can aid in controlling post-operative pain while your pet is recovering in the hospital. We make specific recommendations about home care including icing, limiting activity and preventing self trauma. In combination all of these steps help our patients to recover quickly and with the least amount of pain. [Read more…]

Is Your Pet Hurting Silently (Part 2)

Have you ever wondered if animals feel pain? Many people do because animals don’t seem to express pain like we do. They don’t talk about it to their spouse or parent, they don’t joke with their co-workers, they don’t call the doctor to make an appointment to discuss it. Rest assured they do feel pain. Think about a limping pet…they don’t cry or whine, they don’t complain, they just power through and carry on as best they can. They suffer silently.

Is pain bad? Pain most certainly can be bad and in more ways than most people think. Acute pain can serve a purpose – to warn the body there is something wrong. It brings out a protective response and should go away quickly. However, chronic pain serves no protective purpose and can be a disease in itself. There are far reaching chemical effects in the body when it is dealing with pain all the time. These effects can slow digestion, delay healing and have a psychological impact on our pets. Long term pain left untreated can actually lead to more pain. This is called Windup Pain and is a physiological response. [Read more…]

Is Your Dog Hurting Silently?

By Dr. Erin Troy

How do you know when someone you love hurts? Normally, you can ask them, but we don’t speak the same language as some of our most beloved family members. Most of our dogs don’t tell us in an easily understandable way when they are sore or uncomfortable.

As responsible pet parents, we need to watch for the early, subtle signs of pain and discomfort. Many of us think the most obvious sign of pain is whining or crying, but that could not be further from the truth. We need to be looking for more subtle clues, such as taking longer to stand or lie down, difficulty or refusal to get on the bed or into the car, and slowing down on walks. Other indicators include excessive panting that is not temperature related, restlessness at night, and reclusive behavior. Keep in mind that if your dog has a sore back or is uncomfortable in more than one leg, he or she will not limp but will still be suffering.

The earlier pain is recognized, the earlier it can be treated and the less damage done to your dog’s body. Chronic untreated pain can have far-reaching effects and cause dysfunction in all parts of your dog’s body. Many of us believe it is normal for an aging dog to slow down, and we attribute many mobility changes to “He is just getting older.”  A senior dog deserves as much comfort as we can provide, and there are many ways that you and your veterinarian can help your dog age gracefully and pain free. [Read more…]

Osteoarthritis Treatment Using the Assisi Loop™ by Erin Troy DVM

Our doctors frequently prescribe the Assisi Loop™ for treating a variety of conditions including pain and osteoarthritis.  Read Dr. Troy’s case review here for more information  Assisi Animal Health – Osteoarthritis .  Click here for more information about the Assisi Loop™  or ask your doctor at your next visit.

Dr. Erin Troy Finalist in AVMF’s America’s Favorite Veterinarian Contest

AVMF_AFV-Logo2 We finally have the outcome of the America’s Favorite Veterinarian contest and while Dr. Erin Troy made a strong showing, Dr. Tim Hunt from Marquette, Michigan is this year’s winner.  Please continue to check the AVMF’s website, http://www.avmf.org/ for more information on this worthy foundation.  We would like to thank each of you for all of your support for Dr. Troy.  She is honored to have been nominated and selected as a finalist. We are so lucky to have such amazing clients!

Dr. Erin Troy Achieves Veterinary Pain Management Certification!

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Troy who has earned the title of Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner! The second veterinarian in the state of California to earn this esteemed title from the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM), Dr. Troy has worked toward this certification for over 4 years. Her dedication to excellence has required her to: complete over 80 hours of continuing education specifically in pain management, master a list of pain management skills, acquire letters of professional reference, pass a written examination, and submit two case studies. Dr. Troy joins this multidimensional and internationally recognized group as one of only 53 people with this title in the world. We are so very proud of Dr. Troy for following her passion, and continuing to be a leader in the field of not only Veterinary Medicine, but of Pain.



Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or EPI can be thought of as a type of maldigestion.  The problem starts in the pancreas, which is an important organ that sits near the stomach and small intestine.  The pancreas has multiple functions including making and storing enzymes needed for digesting starches, fats, and proteins.  Without these important enzymes, as occurs in EPI, proper absorption of food is impaired.

There is thought to be a genetic basis to EPI and while it can develop at any age, it is usually seen before the age of 4.  The incidence is reportedly much higher in German Shepherd Dogs and Rough-Coated Collies, but it has been diagnosed in many other breeds.

The main symptoms of EPI include weight loss or the lack of weight gain, and soft stools or diarrhea.  Diagnosis is based upon physical exam, pertinent historical information and a serum blood test for a specific enzyme.  The test is called the TLI or trypsin like immunoreactivity test.  There have been other tests used in the past but they are not as accurate as the TLI test.  Keep in mind that dogs with EPI can have other concurrent medical issues so it is always a good idea to have a full work up done including a general health screen blood panel, urinalysis, fecal parasite check and the levels of folate and cobalamin measured.

If a dog is diagnosed with EPI then treatment is centered on supplementing for the missing enzymes.  There are a variety of choices of enzyme replacements available so discuss with your veterinarian about cost, form and quality.  You should also discuss the manner in which the supplement is given to your dog.  If other medical issues are discovered then additional medications or a diet change may be indicated.

While EPI is not a curable disease and does require life long medication, it can be managed so your dog can have an active healthy life.

Alternative healing: Interview with animal acupuncture expert Dr. Jennifer Yamamoto

Posted on October 4, 2012 by naomi


Jennifer Yamamoto, DVM, is the second subject in our series of interviews with rehabilitation and veterinary specialists using the Assisi loop. Dr. Yamamoto completed her bachelor’s degree in biology at UCLA and her veterinary degree at UC Davis. She has been practicing small animal medicine in Contra Costa County, California since 2002. In 2006, she earned her veterinary acupuncture certification through Colorado State University, and offers this complementary therapy to her patients at Muller Veterinary Hospital and the Canine Rehabilitation Center in Walnut Creek.

NG: Thank you so much for joining our veterinarian interview series. To start out with, if you could describe yourself, what you do, and how you first heard of the Assisi device and started using it.

JY: I’m a small animal veterinarian and I’ve been in practice for about ten years. I do mainly general practice and I’ve been practicing animal acupuncture for the last 5 or 6 years. We have have a rehabilitation center in our hospital, so I get to see a lot of referrals from other hospitals for arthritis, neurological problems, post-operative back surgeries, rehab for orthopedic surgeries, etc… [Read more…]