And the Eyes Have It!

Our pet’s vision is very important to them.  It is a large part of what allows them to chase a tennis ball or bird-watch out the living room window.  While many blind animals live happy lives, we certainly want to do everything in our power to keep our pets seeing well.

Eye problems can come on very quickly and cause serious, irreversible damage within a matter of hours.  Many eye problems appear similarly in the early stages, making it difficult to know without an examination how pressing the problem is.

If you notice any of the following problems, be sure to notify your veterinarian right away.  Waiting even a day or self-medicating can have serious consequences in certain situations.

  • Squinting
  • Pawing at or rubbing the eye
  • Increased watery discharge
  • Yellow or green discharge
  • Uneven pupils or pupils that do not change with changes in lighting
  • Change in the appearance of the eye’s surface (cornea)
  • Redness around or in the eye
  • Change in vision

No Bones About It This Holiday Season

Holidays and family gatherings tend to make you want to share the bounty with your pet but leftover turkey bones and other scrap bones can pose a risk for pets. pet emergenciesHere are a few reasons that may not be the best idea:

Physical injury

Sharp fragments can cause injury to the mouth and/or tongue that require a visit to the veterinarian. It is also not uncommon for pets to get a bone looped around the lower jaw, which is frightening and can require sedation to remove.

Broken teeth

Bones are hard! Broken teeth are a serious problem and can require expensive dental procedures to correct or remove.


There are oh-so-many places bones or bone fragments can become lodged on the way down including the esophagus, windpipe, stomach, or intestines. Even pieces of bone that are not stuck can lead to constipation due to their hard, sharp nature.


Pieces of bone can perforate through the digestive tract, leading to leakage of the contents into the body cavities. This can lead to a serious condition called peritonitis. Peritonitis can lead to severe illness and even death.

Food poisoning

Dogs and cats are just as susceptible to threats like E.coli and Salmonella as people. Particularly if your pet helps itself to a treat out of the trash, these organisms can cause problems.

Be safe and happy

Before offering a bone to your pet this holiday season, think about the potential consequences. Also be sure to dispose of your table scraps in a manner not accessible to your animals. Enjoy a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Hairless Hearts

If you are a cat lover, chances are at some point you have admired the Sphynx cat.  These bald, wrinkly kitties are full of personality and spunk! 

The breed is relatively new, having developed as the breed we know today starting in 1966.  Hairless cats, however, have been around throughout history.  Like all cats, the Sphynx can suffer from a devastating cardiac disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).  The breed, however, is over-represented in cats that are affected with about 15% of those tested being positive.  Early detection of HCM is vital as often there are no obvious symptoms prior to death or devastating complications.

Our own Dr. Riepe has taken a personal interest in helping to decrease the effects of HCM on the Sphynx breed and the people that love them by becoming involved in Hairless Hearts.  Hairless Hearts is an organization which coordinates with veterinary cardiologists to provide affordable early-detection screening for HCM as well as to provide support to HCM-affected Sphynx owners.  Dr. Riepe became a recognized partner for the Pawpeds pedigree database a few years ago, which allows the OVRS cardiology department to work with these special cats and their breeders to lessen the impact of HCM.  Oakland Veterinary Referral Service is thrilled to be able to play a part in this important initiative.

For more information about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or the Sphynx breed, please visit


Anaplasmosis: The OTHER Tick Disease

Pretty much everybody has heard of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  But did you know that there was another type of tick-borne disease that affects dogs called Anaplasmosis?  Here is what you need to know:

  • Anaplasmosis is becoming increasingly more common.
  • The disease is sometimes called Ehrlichiosis.
  • The deer tick is responsible for most the Anaplasmosis in the northeast and upper Midwest, which the black-legged tick is the culprit in the western United States.
  • The bacteria transmitted by the tick attacks the white blood cells and spreads throughout the body, often affecting platelets witch interferes with blood clotting.
  • Symptoms of infection can include fever, lethargy, and painful, swollen joints.  Other less consistent signs are swollen lymph nodes, eye problems, or bleeding.
  • Blood testing can confirm the disease.
  • Most dogs can be successfully treated with a specific antibiotic, although they can relapse or become re-infected.

As if you needed another reason to use tick prevention!  Be sure to protect your dog from exposure to Anaplasmosis.