Dr. Bob's Animal Health and Information  Site



Dr. Bobs Pet Health and Information Site




Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site 

Email me

Please use the address below for this site.



Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site    509 Benicia Road, Vallejo, California, USA 707-642-4405


Summer 1996 Newsletter

News from

All Creatures Veterinary Hospital

     Fleas are a constant source of irritation for our pets.  Every year we see numerous problems associated with fleas on our pets.  The most obvious is the constant scratching and chewing.  This can progress to baldness, open sores, or self mutilation.  We also see animals who are anemic due to excessive flea loads.  Other parasites can be transmitted by fleas, the most common one we see is tapeworms.

     Recently there have been several scientific breakthroughs which will greatly improve our ability in helping you overcome these flea associated problems.  By now, most of you are familiar with Program - the once a month tablet which sterilizes fleas and thereby reduces the environmental population.  This product has been very effective in most situations, however certain conditions can reduce its ability to control the flea populations.  This is especially a problem with cats that are not confined to your yard.

     Two new products will help overcome this problem.  Advantage, which is a spot application product, and Front Line, which is a spray-on product, will both be available in the next few months.  Both products will be effective for two weeks to one month for both dogs and cats.  They will be effective against adult fleas with 98 to 100% reduction of adult fleas on the animal within 24 hours of application.  both products have been released outside California, however since our state has many more requirements for approval, we don't expect Advantage will be available until July or August, and Front Line until 1997.

     We will be carrying both products as soon as they are available.  Call our office to check with us for an update on the anticipated date of availability.

                                                                       Dr. Robert L. Linville

Special Care for Your Older Pet

Like Humans, Aging Pets Require Special Care

Just like with us, the clock continues to tick for animals - only their clock runs a little faster.  Compared to humans, the life span of a cat or dog is relatively short and depends upon the size and breed of the animal.  A St. Bernard, for example, is considered a "senior" at the age of 5 to 7 while a terrier would be considered middle aged.  Age 7 to 10 is considered middle- aged for cats while over 10 is a senior.  You'll find that routine preventive medicine for your pet during their senior years is better for them and less expensive for you.  The real reward, however, is the potential freedom from some old-age ailments that could rob you and your pet of years of companionship and enjoyment.  The heat of summer is hard on our furry friends, especially on seniors, so now is an ideal time to bring your older pet in for a geriatric examination.


All living creatures' bodies change as they age.  Most changes result from deteriorating body functions such as loss of kidney function

and impaired vision.  As the pet ages, the incidences ( and possibly the intensity) of these ailments increase.  Some older cats and dogs may be suffering from varying degrees of several different problems!

 Among the most common health problems seen in older pets are:

  • kidney disease
  • arthritis
  • heart disease
  • impaired senses
  • liver disease
  • behavioral changes
  • tooth & gum disease
  • obesity


Although many age-related changes like hearing loss cannot be prevented, other diseases can be treated of prevented if caught early enough. Therefore, the most important thing that you can do for your canine or feline senior is to have them seen by the veterinarian annually.  An examination and a simple flood test often reveal


problems early, correctable stages when they are easier and less costly to treat.  Other tests may be necessary depending upon your pet's health history.  As a result of these tests, the veterinarian will prescribe a maintenance program that best meets the needs of your pet.




Now is a great time to schedule a geriatric screening for your senior.  A gently wagging tail or a soft purr will be your reward for many years to come.  Call us today to schedule a screening for your canine or feline senior citizen.  You owe it to yourself to keep your beloved pet with you longer.


A Near-Tragic Story

With summer, many of our pets are spending longer and longer hours outdoors.  During their travels, our pets have an increased liklihood of coming in contact with other animals, one of which may be infected with rabies.  Without the protection of a rabies vaccination, an animal exposed to a potential carrier of rabies faces limited options.  The following story illustrates what we mean.

Mrs. Allen received a reminder card from her animal clinic stating that Ruffles' rabies booster was due.  Because of her busy schedule, Mrs. Allen forgot to make an appointment.  She also believed that Ruffles was reasonably safe because he was contained in a yard equipped with an invisible fence. "If he can't roam, how can he get into trouble", she figured.

One afternoon, Ruffles spied a furry creature waddling out of the

woods behind the Allen's house.  Being a terrier, Ruffles raced to the attack but the raccoon was not as slow as the terrier thought.  The encounter was quick and each combatant landed several bites on its opponent before they disengaged.  Ruffles continued to bark defiantly at the retreating intruder unaware that he had lost a square inch of his right ear flap and had two deep puncture wounds on his right shoulder.

Mrs. Allen soon returned home and noticed Ruffles' blood smeared shoulder and ear.  Within 15 minutes, she and Ruffles were at her animal clinic where Ruffles was soon examined by the veterinarian.  The look on the doctor's face foreshadowed the news that followed.

Mrs. Allen was informed of the prevailing facts:

  • the bite on Ruffle's shoulder was probably from a Raccoon,
  • Ruffles' rabies vaccination was not current.

Had rabies been prevalent in their immediate area, the Allens may very well have been forced to put Ruffles to sleep.  Fortunately for Ruffles and the Allens, their local health department allowed the doctor to administer a rabies booster but Ruffles had to be quarantined in the Allen's home for six months.  In a different area, he may not have been so lucky.  Of course, this entire situation, with all of its worry and aggravation, could have been avoided had Ruffles been current on his rabies vaccination.

Everyone is busy these days and it's easy to forget or put off that appointment making phone call.  Remember, all pets must be vaccinated against rabies - that's the law!  If you are unsure about your pet's current innoculation status, please give our office a call today.  Chances are that your pet also needs some Other disease preventing vaccinations as well.  Situations like Ruffles' can be avoided with just a little precaution.

Putting Fido in a Kennel While you're on Vacation?


If you are planning on leaving your dog in a kennel this summer while you're at the beach or mountains, you should have him vaccinated to obtain protection against Kennel Cough.  Sometimes called "Canine Cough", tracheobronchitis is a contagious upper-respiratory disease whose symptoms include coughing, sneezing, hacking and retching.  The disease is spread through the air by organisms that travel considerable distances and infect any susceptible dog.  One of the most common areas of infection are boarding kennels.  So if you're leaving Fido at a kennel for a couple of weeks this summer, make sure you have him or her vaccinated prior to admission to the kennel.


If your pet is traveling with you on vacation this summer, be sure to bring a copy of its current rabies certificate with you.  This way, if your pet gets into a fight with another pet while you're away, you have proof of vaccination that will save you lots of time and hassle.

Quotable Quotes

"Every person has an indulgence, but very few indulgences give things back. Pets do."  Dr. R. Brooks, a veterinarian from Fountain Valley, CA, in defense of his clients who willing y spent $16,000 on a kidney transplant for their 8-year-old cat, Herb.

"The great pleasure of a dog is that you make a fool of yourslef with him, and not only will he not scold you, he will make a fool of himself too." 

Samuel Butler

"There is always one true inner voice. Trust it."

Gloria Steinem


Tick Trouble?


More and more of our clients are telling us how bad the ticks are this year.  We are also seeing a lot of ticks on the dogs and cats we treat.  Ticks present potential risks to humans as well as to our pets and their presence should not be taken lightly.

Ticks are most active from May through August, with peak activity in July.  Some folks have reported having problems all year (possibly due to home infestations.)  Here are some suggestions to prevent ticks from bothering your pets:

  • Keep grassy areas clipped short. Ticks usually attach themselves to long grass to await a passing animal or human.
  • Get a good flea & tick collar. There are several good collars that inhibit ticks from attaching onto your pet.  We can suggest the right one for your pet.
  • Some sprays and repellents are available to keep ticks off your pets.  Ask us for your suggestions as to what is best for your pet.
  • A Lyme disease vaccine is available for dogs.  Ask the doctor if this vaccination is best for your dog.
Don't let your pet itch

We see a lot of pets this time of year who seem to be itching themselves much more than normal.  Your chronically itching pet may be suffering from an allergy.  Pet allergies manifest themselves in a form of dermatitis that causes the pet to scratch madly.  There are three main types of pet dermatitis:

  1. Allergic Inhalant Dermatitis - This is caused by an animal's hypersensitivity to airborne irritants like pollen.

  2. Flea-bite Dermatitis - During the biting process, the flea injects its saliva under the pet's skin.  This irritation can cause the pet to itch and bite itself.

  3. Contact Dermatitis - This is caused by direct contact with an irritant such as a flea collar, poison ivy, etc.

If your pet has been itching feverishly, give our office a call.  Please do not attempt a self-diagnosis.  A misdiagnosis could prolong your pet's suffering and possibly cause complications.



Considering our earlier story about Ruffles, it's probably a good idea to review what vaccinations Kitty needs to stay healthy.  The following are some suggestions but you should talk to the doctor to seek the specific requirements of your cat.

RABIES - Cats may be at greater risk of contacting rabies because of their roaming nature.  Because rabies can be easily transmitted to the human population, most states mandate a rabies vaccination for your cat.

PANLEUKOPENIA - Also known as feline distemper, panleukopenia is a highly contagious, often fatal disease.  It is not transmittable to humans of dogs.

FELINE LEUKEMIA - FeLV is one of the most common causes of illness and death in cats.  It is a cancer-causing virus that often suppresses the cat's ability to fight infections.  Cats should be tested prior to being vaccinated.  FeLV is not transmittable to humans of dogs.

RHINOTRACHEITIS - This disease resembles the common cold in humans but can cause serious problems fro older cats and kittens.  It does not cause disease in humans or dogs.

CALICI VIRUS - Calici has symptoms similar to rhinotracheitis.  Kittens and older cats are again at the greatest risk.  It does not cause disease in humans or dogs.

FELINE INFECTIOUS PERITONITIS - FIP is a progressive and fatal disease. It is a serious problem in multi-cat households.

Your veterinarian is the most reliable source of information about your cat's health.  Never be afraid to ask the doctor or any member of our staff questions.  We're here to help you and your cat remain happy companions for as long as possible.