Dr. Bob's Animal Health and Information  Site



Dr. Bobs Pet Health and Information Site




Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site 

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


Winter 1998 Newsletter



News from

All Creatures Veterinary Hospital

    Spring is upon us again!  Remember your actions now will determine whether your pet has more or less problems as the year continues.  Now is the time to prevent weed growth, which will result in foxtails, or burrs which may become lodged in your pets' ears, eyes or skin later this year as the seed heads begin to dry out.  Mosquito control and regular use of monthly Heartworm preventive medication is critical now to avoid the serious consequences heartworms can cause in your pet.  Flea control measures including attention to the yard and house as well as using the monthly flea control product Advantage on your pet will greatly reduce the skin problems and itch your pet may have later this year.  Performing these preventive measures as well as continuing good grooming, feeding, and health care will help keep your pet happier and healthier in the upcoming months.

Photo Contest:  All Creatures Veterinary Hospital will be having a photo contest this Spring!  Please submit a photograph of your pet at its best.  Include your name, address, and telephone number so we can contact you if you win. All photos submitted will be placed in a container and one will be selected by a random drawing on April 1, 1998.  Photographs will not be returned after the contest as we may be using them for display in our office.  Good luck !!!

The Importance of Pet Dental Health

In many of the articles we write, an attempt is made to compare the importance of a procedure we might receive from our medical doctor to one that an animal may receive from a veterinarian.  This is a logical approach because many of our internal systems operate in a similar manner.  For example, we stress the importance of an annual examination, especially for geriatric patients.  This is similar to what you hear from your family doctor.  Likewise, the American Dental Association loudly encourages us to visit our dentist at least twice a year.  Indeed, proper dental health is crucial to our overall health profile as well as to our quality of life.  So too with the animals in our life.


The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that 85% of all dogs and 50% of all cats require dental work.  Pets with dental problems are easy to spot.  Take a minute and do two things:

  1. Look at your pet's teeth  & gums. Then ask:

    Is there a plaque buildup on my pet's teeth?

    Is there a brownish material (tartar) that covers my pet's teeth?

    Do my pet's gums look red, swollen or inflamed?

  2. Smell your pet's breath - is it foul smelling?

If you answer yes to any one of the questions above, your pet should undergo a dental procedure.  If you are unsure, let us examine your pet for an accurate diagnosis.



"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you.  That is the principal difference between a dog and a man."

Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog."

President Dwight D. Eisenhouer


Pet Health New Years Resolutions

  1. Make sure your pet has an annual examination.  Allowing us to discover problems before they become serious is both good medicine and economically sound (especially for your senior citizen!).
  2. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Besides helping to ease the pet over-population problem and to eliminate the territorial marking of males, altering your pet has medical benefits as well.
  3. Make sure your pet's teeth are cleaned regularly.  As we have stated, proper dental care is essential to long-term good health.
  4. Make sure your pet has proper identification.  Hundreds of pets are lost annually in our community and proper identification ensures their prompt return.
  5. If your pet is on medication, make sure you administer it as directed.  We see scores of pets whose ailments linger due to their owners non-compliance with the medication's directions.
  6. Make 1998 a "Flea Free" year!  We have some products that will control fleas before they become a problem.
  7. Provide your pet with quality pet food.  Better foods provide nutritional balance and help keep your pet's kidneys, liver, heart, and other organs functioning properly.
  8. Get some creature comforts for your pet.  A few toys, a new bed and other such items will add greatly to your pet's quality of life.

Dental Procedure

A routine dental procedure for a pet is similar to one you receive from your family dentist.  The only exception is that we usually administer a short acting general anesthetic, necessary for a thorough job.  Modern anesthetics, identical to those used on people, are gentle on organ systems with fast, uneventful recoveries.  We then scale the plaque and any tartar build-up from your pet's teeth.  If this is not done, the bacteria in the tartar will eventually inflame the pet's gums causing periodontal disease.  Left untreated, the constant exposure to bacteria from the inflamed gums may adversely affect your pet's liver, kidneys and other vital organs.

We stated it was natural to compare human and veterinary medicine as they pertain to our personal and pet's health maintenance.  One thing we didn't mention is that many of the ads promoting human dental products and procedures hint that a brighter smile and better breath will make you more appealing!  We are not ready to go that far in our human-animal comparisons but we do know that good dental health is good preventive medicine and an investment in your pet's teeth makes good sense.  Call us today for an appointment.





  1. Labrador Retriever

  2. Rottweiler

  3. German Shepherd

  4. Golden Retriever

  5. Beagle

  6. Poodle

  7. Dachshund

  8. Cocker Spaniel

  9. Yorkshire Terrier

  10. Pomeranian

    Source: AKC

All About Cats

Why does your cat use a litter box?


Thanks to the litter box, there really isn't much training involved in owning a cat.  This differs significantly from a puppy who has to be painstakingly trained.  What is it that draws a cat to a litter box in the first place?

Like most good things in life, a "Mom" is generally involved.  A kitten's first introduction to a litter box comes from its mother.  However, it's a cat's instinct of self-preservation that plays the biggest role.

In the wild, where dangers abound, cats busy their feces to keep predators away from their habitat.  Our domestic cats continue this habit which makes them such good companions.  The urge to hide their presence is so strong that even if a cat eliminates outside its box, the cat will still go through the motions of digging and covering.

Although the litter box habit is deeply ingrained, there are several instances in which a cat may stop using the box.  With its sensitive nose, any cat would be turned off by a box that isn't scooped frequently.  Cleaning the box of its contents on a daily basis may solve the problem.  If this fails, consider whether your cat is ill.  Increases in water intake or urinary tract infections can cause changes in litter box behavior.  If you suspect that Kitty isn't feeling well, give us a call.  If your cat gets a clean bill of health, judge such factors as type of litter or household changes.

Some cats are picky about the type of litter used.  Scent and texture are very important to them.  If you are using a scented litter, try unscented. If you're using granular litter, consider replacing it with soft, sand like clumping litter.  Such a simple change may make all the difference to our fastidious felines.

If all else fails, try to think of any recent changes that may have stressed your cat.  Cats are creatures of habit.  A new baby, a new dog or cat, or a change in household routing may disturb a sensitive cat.  Moving the litter box can be especially problematic.  If possible, make changes gradually so your cat will have time to adjust, and give Kitty extra attention to combat any insecurity.

If you have any specific questions, give us a call.  We're here to help you and your cat.


Don't Forget Good Grooming

Good grooming is important to your pet and consists of:

Hair Treatment - Combing or brushing needs vary according to the length and coat type of the pet.  In general, pets should be brushed once or twice a week.  Use a groomer's glove, brush, or comb that does not irritate the skin.  Routine brushing is essential for cats as it reduces the chance of hair balls.

Bathing - Pets need baths because tongues are not adequate cleansing tools.  use a shampoo formulated for pets and lather their coats in a petting motion while you talk to them reassuringly.  Place a small wad of cotton in the outer ear.  Rinse thoroughly.  Towel dry you pet using the same petting motion as you did for the bath.

Nail Trimming - You can try using a "human" nail trimmer but one designed for pets generally works best. Trim just in front of the pink area or "dermis" which contains nerves and blood vessels.  If this can't be seen, trim the nail just below the point where it starts to curve down.

Ear Cleaning - Don't wait until you start to detect strange odors coming from your pet's ears - a tell tale sign of ear infection.  To avoid damaging the eardrum, clean only that part of the ear that you can see.  A small amount of wax in the ear is important to help protect the ear canal from foreign objects.

As always, give us a call if you have any questions or need further assistance.



If Fido or Kitty looks like they're carrying a few extra pounds, these tips may be helpful.  (If you believe that your pet is overweight, it is best to have this confirmed by the veterinarian to rule out the presence of any medical problems.)

  1. The number one cause of obesity in animals (44% of dogs, 12% of cats) is eating more calories than the animal expends.  Sound familiar? The easiest way to decrease your pet's weight is to stop giving you pet table scraps and cut down on the biscuits between his or her meals.

  2. Increase your pet's physical activity.  The exercise will burn off the calories and make your pet feel better.  A routine walk on a leash at night is great for you and your pet. (Note: Exercise may be inappropriate for pets in poor health.)

  3. Consider changing your pet's diet.  We can suggest the type of foods that are best for your pet and the amount you feed them.  Of course, this depends upon his or her age, medical history and the severity of the weight problem.

  4. Some people stop feeding their pets when they think a weight problem is present.  This is not a good idea.  The reduced food intake will not satisfy your pet's hunger and it may cause a vitamin, mineral or protein deficiency.

  5. If your pet has a history of medical problems, talk with us first.  Together we can construct a weight loss program that best fits the needs of you pet.

If you think Fido or Kitty is carrying around too much excess weight, give us a call before you begin a weight loss program.