• Saturday, February 08, 2014 3:04 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)
    Dr. Famini from the SRJC Vet Tech Program did a months long salary and benefits survey of people within the veterinary field in Sonoma and surrounding counties.  Follow the link to see the results.
  • Saturday, September 14, 2013 2:08 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    In addition to the "Sexiest Men Alive" feature planned for People Magazine's December edition, the magazine will include something that veterinarians will appreciate: an eye-catching Partners for Healthy Pets (PHP) advertisement advising pet owners to call their veterinarian today to schedule a preventive healthcare exam.

    Beginning in September, PHP will demand attention from pet owners nationwide in advertisements featured in People, O Magazine,, and many other high-profile online destinations and print publications. Television public service announcements are planned for 2014, PHP said.

    The campaign, spearheaded by AAHA, the AVMA, the AVMF, and more than 90 organizations across all levels of the veterinary profession, will ensure that millions of pet owners get the message: "Call your veterinarian and make an appointment for a yearly checkup today!"

    AAHA donated $200,000 to support the effort and hopes the comprehensive campaign will trigger a surge of people bringing their pets into their local animal hospitals for preventive checkups.

    The print-centered piece of the advertising blitz will begin in October and see PHP ads placed in several high-profile publications, including People, O Magazine, Prevention, Family Fun, and Everyday with Rachael Ray.

    In addition to the print ads, PHP is going digital with the campaign beginning in mid-September. The online  effort will feature advertisements placed on high-traffic websites such as, SheKnows, Yahoo, PetMD/Pet360, and Everyday Health, as well as ad networks and paid search platforms.

    Defining the target audience

    After in-depth research, PHP determined that the magazines and websites chosen for its ads specifically hit the target audience - females aged 30 to 49 who own pets and have a household income of $75,000 or more. Narrowing down the audience even further, the organization is heavily focused on the 60 percent of pet owners who have an established relationship with a veterinarian but have not visited within the past 18 months.

    Even the ads themselves are highly targeted. According to PHP, the group surveyed 450 dog and cat owners from across the country, prompting them to examine different versions of ads and then click on the areas that drew their attention most using heatmap technology.

    The information gleaned from the heatmap study enabled PHP to create advertisements that will most effectively direct viewers' eyes to the important messages, which the organization says are "feed daily, yearly checkups, love forever."

    More information

    Learn more about the consumer campaign as well as PHP's tools for veterinary teams at the Partners for Healthy Pets website.

  • Thursday, September 05, 2013 10:06 AM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    The Sonoma Humane Society Spay/Neuter program is looking for volunteers to help with the recovery of animals after surgery & other various nursing duties. We currently have 3 hour shifts available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Fridays. Hours would be 9-12, 10-1, or 11-2.  If you are interested, please contact Anna Hill, RVT at

  • Monday, July 22, 2013 1:38 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    Dog owners who cook food for their pets at home may be putting a lot of love into the recipes, but they are likely not adding enough nutritional value, according to researchers from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.

    The researchers analyzed 200 recipes for homemade dog food to determine how many of them meet established nutritional standards. According to the results published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, very few of the recipes were nutritionally complete.

    "The results of this study, however, indicate that most available recipes for healthy dogs, even those published in books by veterinarians, do not provide essential nutrients in the quantities required by the dog," said Jennifer Larsen, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis and lead author on the study. "It is extremely difficult for the average pet owner - or even veterinarians - to come up with balanced recipes to create appropriate meals that are safe for long-term use."

    Most recipes have nutritional deficiencies

    For the study, researchers analyzed 200 recipes from 34 sources including veterinary textbooks, websites, and pet care books. They used a computer-based program to evaluate recipes for the nutritional content in the food as well as the specificity of the instructions, UC Davis said. The researchers' findings included:

    • Out of 200 recipes studied, only nine contained essential nutrients in concentrations that met the minimum standards for adult dogs established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Eight of the nine recipes were written by veterinarians.
    • Five recipes - all written by veterinarians - featured essential nutrient concentrations that met the National Research Council's Minimum Requirements for adult dogs.
    • Only four recipes were written by board-certified veterinary nutritionists, and all of those recipes had acceptable nutrient profiles for adult dogs.

    According to Larsen, 95 percent of the recipes produced food that lacked the necessary levels of at least one essential nutrient such as choline, vitamin D, zinc, or vitamin E. Eighty-three percent of the recipes lacked multiple nutrients, she said.

    Vague or incomplete instructions for majority of recipes

    In addition to the nutritional deficiencies discovered, researchers also determined that 92 percent of the recipes had vague or incomplete instructions. The faulty instructions left pet owners to make at least one guess regarding ingredients, preparation methods, or the use of supplement-type products, UC Davis reported. 

    Researchers also reported that 85 percent of the recipes did not supply owners with calorie information or specify the size of dog for which the recipe was meant.

    Researchers' recommendations regarding homemade food

    According to Larsen, preparing homemade pet food isn't a bad idea for pet owners - she just believes her group's research shows that it should be done under the guidance of experts.

    "Homemade food is a great option for many pets, but we recommend that owners avoid general recipes from books and the Internet and instead consult with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist," she said. "These specialists have advanced training in nutrition to help formulate customized and nutritionally appropriate recipes."

  • Monday, July 22, 2013 1:33 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    During the 2013 AVMA Annual Convention in Chicago, Partners for Healthy Pets (PHP) revealed its ambitious public information campaign to help veterinarians communicate the value of preventive care to pet owners, which will result in increased annual checkups and overall healthier pets.

    Partners for Healthy Pets, a coalition that includes AAHA, the AVMA, and more than 90 organizations across all levels of the veterinary profession, also will mount a consumer-facing campaign to educate pet owners about how visiting their veterinarian at least once a year can help their pets live longer and stay healthier.

    With the combined effort, Partners for Healthy Pets hopes to help veterinarians bring in more clients for annual checkups, as well as steer pets away from cancer, obesity, and other quickly spreading health hazards.

    Helping veterinarians more effectively advocate for preventive care

    The veterinarian-centered portion of the program offers veterinarians a focused strategy to help them communicate the need for preventive care to their clients. There is much room for improvement in this area among veterinarians, as 56% of pet owners said their veterinarians do not clearly explain when they should bring their pets in for various procedures or tests, according to the 2011 Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study that PHP quotes on its website.

    To help practices have a more effective preventive care dialogue with clients, PHP offers free resources such as a toolkit that includes an enrollment brochure, hospital checklist, preventive healthcare guidelines, and window cling. Practices can also find training videos, scripts for veterinary teams, and educational materials on the PHP website.

    Convincing pet owners of the need for lifelong veterinary care

    The second part of the public information campaign involves a direct-to-consumer communications program that reinforces to pet owners the importance of lifelong veterinary care for their pets. With this part of the campaign, Partners for Healthy Pets intends to address another finding from the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study - that 24 percent of pet owners believe routine checkups are unnecessary.

    “We know that better pet health starts with a conversation between a pet owner and their veterinarian. That’s why Partners for Healthy Pets is launching a robust pet owner campaign to help veterinary clients understand how they can protect their pet’s health through the annual veterinary visit. By helping people understand the importance of the yearly visit to their family veterinarian, we will better educate pet owners about the vital role of the veterinarian and remind them that the veterinary team should be the primary resource to get the best information for their pet’s care. We know that veterinary professionals work hard to provide the best care to pets; now it’s time to spread the word to consumers so that they and their pets can enjoy long and healthy lives together,” said Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, AAHA chief executive officer.

    AAHA also announced that it is donating $200,000 to Partners for Healthy Pets as part of its commitment to the program.

    The multi-million dollar campaign will begin this fall and will feature print and online outreach, as well as appearances by veterinarians on select talk shows and news media outlets, according to PHP.

    How veterinarians can join Partners for Healthy Pets

    Veterinarians can join Partners for Healthy Pets for free, giving their entire practice staff access to helpful resources such as the toolkit and educational materials on the website. Gain access to these materials and find more information at the Partners for Healthy Pets website.

  • Monday, July 01, 2013 2:03 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    Many pet owners have called dogs their children for years, but now there is research to support their use of the terminology.

    Researchers from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, conducted a study to explore the similarities in relationships between dogs and their owners, and children and their parents.

    According to a news release from the university, researchers found that dogs and human infants both exhibit the "secure base effect" when bonding with adult humans. This means that dogs and children both derive confidence from the adult's presence, which gives them the motivation to interact with the environment.

    During the study, researchers demonstrated the "secure base effect" by observing how dogs behave under three conditions: with the owner absent, with a silent owner, and with an owner who encouraged the dog. Under these three separate conditions, the dogs were enabled to earn a food reward by manipulating dog toys.

    According to researchers, the results showed that the dogs were less motivated to earn food with their owners absent. The dogs showed increased motivation in the presence of their owners, but it did not matter significantly if the owner was silent or encouraging.

    The dogs' behavior was further tested by placing them in a room with a stranger rather than their owner. According to researchers, the dogs were much less motivated to attempt to earn a food reward with the stranger than with their owner.

    Now that the study has established a similarity between child and dog behaviors, the researchers intend to conduct further studies to shed more light on their findings, the university reported.

    "One of the things that really surprised us is that adult dogs behave towards their caregivers like human children do. It will be really interesting to try to find out how this behavior evolved in the dogs with direct comparisons," said Lisa Horn, from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.

  • Saturday, June 15, 2013 2:17 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    Pet owners with an affinity for technology will have a new toy to play with this summer with the upcoming release of the Whistle, a wearable device for dogs that tracks their activity and rest patterns.

    According to PC Magazine, the disc-shaped, waterproof device attaches to a dog's collar to provide round-the-clock monitoring of the animal's activity and rest patterns. It enables dog owners to synchronize the device with their mobile devices and home networks via built-in Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi radios.

    The device's maker, also called Whistle, is positioning the gadget as a way for dog owners to track their pets' activity, as well as a reference point for veterinarians looking for detailed data about their patients' activity levels. The device enables owners to generate digital graphs and will soon offer printed reports showing the dog's resting and activity patterns over time, which can help veterinarians stay abreast of any concerning changes in the dog's lifestyle.

    According to Ben Jacobs, Whistle's CEO and co-founder, the product has the potential to significantly change the way owners and veterinarians monitor dogs' daily lives.

    “Whistle started from our love of dogs. We’re introducing a window into their lives, creating a way for owners and vets to take a preventative approach to our pets’ health,” Jacobs said in a press release. “To provide the best care requires information on day-to-day needs and long-term trends, which until now, have never been available.”

    According to PC Magazine, an important function of the Whistle is its ability to differentiate between different types of activity such as walking or playing in order to more accurately show how dogs spend their time. The Whistle is also able to distinguish between owner-directed playtime and self-initiated activity, which is important because dogs will often engage in owner-directed activity even in poor health.

    Consumers can pre-order the product for $99 and they will begin shipping later in the summer, the company said.

  • Saturday, June 15, 2013 2:16 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    Domestic violence survivors and their pets are finding safe refuge together in New York City after the area's first co-sheltering project launched on June 1.

    People and Animals Living Safely (PALS), run by the Urban Resource Institute (URI) in a partnership with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, kicked off a six-month pilot program that will first accept cats and other small animals only.

    According to a news release from URI, the organization will attempt to raise $250,000 so it can expand PALS into three other domestic violence shelters in New York City and also begin to welcome dogs and other larger animals into the shelters. Larger animals require additional changes such as soundproofing, dog runs, and extra staff training, which will be paid for with the money raised.

    The co-sheltering initiative is geared toward helping the more than 40 percent of domestic violence victims who stay in abusive situations rather than leave their pets behind, URI said, citing national data. The organization also said that more than 70 percent of pet owners who enter shelters report that the abuser has threatened, injured, or killed family pets.

    According to URI, this will be the first shelter in New York City to allow pets in residence, although New York City is the largest provider of domestic violence services in the United States with more than 50 shelters.

    With the pilot program just beginning, URI President Nathan Fields said he believes it is a big step toward helping domestic violence victims make safer decisions for themselves and their pets.

    "There has never been a more important time for the domestic violence shelter community to open its doors to pets," Fields said. "As we witnessed during Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, pets are members of the family and no one should have to make the impossible decision to leave them behind during times of crisis."

  • Saturday, June 15, 2013 2:14 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    An Ottawa woman who allegedly let her cat grow to over 24 pounds is facing neglect charges after the Ottawa Humane Society was forced to euthanize the animal due to poor health.

    According to the Chronicle Herald, Ottawa resident Guylene Roy brought her 12-year-old cat named Napoleon to see a veterinarian several times and received advice to manage and improve Napoleon's health. The Ottawa Humane Society says Roy did not follow the veterinarian's advice, resulting in Napoleon's weight ballooning to the point where he could not stand or clean himself.

    When Roy's father surrendered Napoleon, the humane society noted that the cat's fur was matted with feces and his skin was covered with open sores, leading the humane society's executive director Bruce Roney to declare the case "extreme and unusual," according to the Ottawa Citizen. Napoleon's health finally deteriorated enough that the humane society had to euthanize Napoleon to put an end to his severe pain.

    Roney told the newspaper his organization conducts more than a thousand investigations each year, but typically only levels charges in 12 to 24 cases yearly. Roney said the charges are reserved for the "most serious cases."

    Roy is due in court on June 27 to face charges of permitting distress to an animal and failure to maintain standards of care, which fall under the province's animal cruelty law, the Chronicle Herald reported. She faces a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or 30 days in jail.

  • Saturday, June 15, 2013 2:13 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    Doberman pinschers afflicted with canine compulsive disorder (CCD) display similar underlying structural brain abnormalities as people who have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), according to research recently published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.

    Discovering this similarity between CCD and OCD potentially opens the door for finding better treatments for dogs and humans who are affected by the conditions, Tufts University reported.

    The research comes from a joint effort between veterinarians at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and researchers at the McLean Imaging Center at Mclean Hospital located in Belmont, Mass.

    During the study, researchers examined MRI images from 16 Dobermans - eight dogs with CCD and eight without. According to Tufts University, the CCD group "had higher total brain and gray matter volumes, lower gray matter densities in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and right anterior insula, and higher fractional anisotropy in the splenium of the corpus callosum (the degree of which correlated with the severity of the behavioral traits." The brain abnormalities are in line with those seen in humans who have OCD, researchers concluded.

    Observing the physical abnormalities may eventually lead to better treatments to help dogs that are prone to compulsive behaviors such as tail chasing, chewing, and pacing, said Niwako Ogata, BVSc, PhD, who was a behavior researcher at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and is currently an assistant professor of animal behavior at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.

    "Canines that misbehave are often labeled as 'bad dogs' but it is important to detect and show the biological basis for certain behaviors," Ogata said. "Evidence-based science is a much better approach to understanding a dog's behavior."

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