MPH Blog
By Morena Pet Hospital
September 16, 2014
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: Pet Food Recall  


As a reminder to all pet owners, we recommend you stay informed about your pet's brand diet.  Please refer to our blog Pet Food Recalls: Resources Every Pet Owner Should Know for important resources and recall alerts that every pet parent should know.  

Mars Petcare US has announced a voluntary recall of its Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food that may contain small metal fragments.  Included in this recall are the 15-pound bags sold at Dollar General stores in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana with associated lot code 432C1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC barcode and a Best Before date of 8/5/15 as well as the 55-pound bags of the Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food are now being recalled from Sam's Club stores in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio with associated lot code 432E1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC barcode and a Best Before Date of 8/7/15. 

The affected bags were produced in one manufacturing facility and shipped only to Dollar General and Sam's Club retailers the company says. Mars Petcare reports in a company release that metal fragments may have entered the packages during the production process, but are not embedded in the food itself. The facility production line has been shut down until the issue is resolved.

Pet owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-800-305-5206 or visit

Other 2014 Recalls to date include: 

Animal & Veterinary: Pet Food Recall Products Archive List.  U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

By Natalie Kushner
September 04, 2014
Category: Dentistry
Tags: Dental   Teeth   pet dental   dental cleanings   tooth care  


We are all guilty of it.  We have all committed Acts of Apathy.  We drive across the parking lot to re-park our cars in front of an adjacent store instead of walking.  We wait until the day before tax returns are due to start digging for our W2s.  Some of us even skip out on post-lunch flossing.  Worst of all, we all procrastinate on brushing our pets’ teeth.


Now, hold your immediate eye-rolls.  So many excuses immediately pop into our heads when veterinarians suggest a dental cleaning.  The cost!  The anesthesia!  The risk!  (Again,) the cost!  Most of our hesitation comes from myths and misinformation.


Myth #1: My dog is too young to need a dental cleaning.


The first stage of dental disease begins when plaque forms on the tooth, and within days the plaque hardens and produces calculus. Gingivitis begins to infect the gums, and then periodontitis, or bone loss, occurs.  This process happens faster than most people realize.  A study by the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) claims that dental disease is the number one diagnosis in dogs and cats, where 80-percent of dogs and 70-percent of cats have periodontal disease by age 2.  


Myth #2: Vets try to “sell” owners dental cleanings regardless of the pet’s condition.


Dental disease is broken up into two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.  In the gingival stage, the disease is reversible by consistent, daily brushing to prevent plaque from hardening.  There is hope for fighting dental disease without anesthesia, but the biggest problem for owners is that they rarely have the time, persistence, or comfort-level to brush their pet’s teeth every day. However, once periodontitis begins the disease is irreversible – the bone will not grow back on its own and leaves the root painfully compromised.


Myth #3: I don’t need to be put under anesthesia to get a teeth cleaning, why should it be any different for my pet?


Yes, we’ve heard this statement before.  Although some practices offer “anesthesia-free” dental cleanings to remove calculus from the tooth, this process does not do a thorough job of removing bacteria from beneath the gum line.  A common analogy is trying clean a 12-foot-high garbage bin with equipment that is only six feet long – the bottom of the bin never is fully cleaned, allowing the waste to eventually eat through the container.  Anesthesia not only sedates and calms the pet (as the idea of dentistry has always been a difficult concept to explain to our furry patients), it allows our doctors easy, fast, and painless access to the gums.  Under sedation, we can place a breathing tube in the throat to prevent damaging bacteria from infecting the respiratory system. 


Myth #4: Anesthesia is too dangerous.


While everyone knows someone with a pet that had a negative reaction to anesthesia, the statistics prove these are rare instances.  A well-known British study of more than 98,000 canine anesthetic cases over a two-year period only reported 147 anesthetic-related deaths, around 0.15-percent.  Most of the deaths occurred in patients with severe pre-existing health conditions.  This is another reason periodic blood work isalways recommended by the doctors at Morena Pet Hospital, as well as blood work before undergoing any anesthetic procedure.  Safety is the number one concern of our doctors, and a complete health examination is always performed before an anesthetic procedure to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks. 


Myth #5: My pet already has health issues, so his/her teeth aren’t a priority.


This is a very common misconception!  What most owners do not understand is that leaving severe dental disease unchecked can lead to major health problems in the future.  A study by researchers at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine showed a significant link between dogs with gum disease and heart disease.  Letting dental disease slide can cause potentially diseases in the kidney, liver, and other major organs.


Myth #6: My pet’s teeth are still pretty white; I’m not worried about dental disease.


The first sign of dental disease is usually bad breath.  Some pets will choose not to chew on a painful side of their mouth, or lose interest in eating altogether.  Also, any attempt at brushing a mouth affected by gingivitis can cause redness, irritation, or bleeding at the gum line.  If you notice any of these symptoms, a veterinarian should examine the teeth and gums right away. 


Myth #7: Dental cleanings are too expensive.


Morena Pet Hospital is offering a dental special in September!  While it is impossible to get an exact figure of any procedure, scheduling a doctor’s exam ahead of time can give you an opportunity to ask specific questions about your pet’s needs and have an accurate, personalized estimate of the procedure.  Only a veterinarian can help you decide what is best for your pet’s condition.  In addition to the dental special, we offer helpful payment options, such as Care Credit, to help finance your pet’s healthcare.  Give us a call today to schedule an appointment – your pet’s healthy, pain-free, fresh-smelling mouth will thank you!




Works Cited

American Veterinary Dental Society. (n.d.). Periodontal Disease in Your Pet. Retrieved Aug 2, 2014, from AVDS Online:

Bellows, D. J. (2007, Apr 12). FAQ: Periodontal Disease. Retrieved 2 Aug, 2014, from Veterinary Partner: Veterinary Information Network:

Bellows, D. J. (2007, Apr 26). FAQ: Toothbrushing and Dental Prophylaxis in Cats and Dogs. Retrieved Aug 2, 2014, from Veterinary Partner: Veterinary Information Network:

D. C. Brodbelt, L. E. (2008, Oct 1). Results of the confidential enquiry into perioperative small animal fatalities regarding risk factors for anesthetic-related death in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1096-1104.

Dr. Phil Zeltzman, D. D. (2013, Jul 9). How Safe is Anesthesia For Your Pet? Retrieved Aug 1, 2014, from Pet Health Network:

Sen, S. (2009, Apr 9). Purdue professor links gum and heart diseases in dogs. Retrieved Aug 1, 2014, from Purdue University News Service:


By Natalie Kushner
August 04, 2014
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: ticks   tick  
You’re planning a family camping vacation in NorCal and want to bring your family pet along for the trip. Or perhaps, you’re going for a brisk run in the canyon this morning and want to your dog to get some exercise.  Or maybe you’re thinking of purchasing a house with a large yard and lots of trees to provide shade for Sparky to roam outside for a while.
So many pet owners in San Diego make all the preparations, but are unaware of the danger hiding beneath fallen leaves, within high grass and in thick brush: ticks.
Ticks are ectoparasites, or skin parasites, that feed on the blood of a variety of animals including dogs, cats, horses, cattle, reptiles, rodents and other small mammals.  Ticks in the past have been known to most-heavily populate the northern and eastern regions on the United States, but more recently some tick species have migrated to other regions including southern California preferring warmer climates. The most prevalent of these species include the American dog tick, Western blacklegged tick and Brown dog tick, found in every corner of the world.
Depending on the species of tick, they can carry a ton of disease. Ticks are not born infected; instead they pick up diseases by feeding off wild creatures. Through blood transmission, ticks can pass on potentially life-threatening diseases to people and pets, sometimes feeding for hours or days. An engorged, female tick can weigh up to 600 times heavier and lay up to 3,000-6,000 eggs at a time.
If that wasn’t enough to upset your lunch, these blood-suckers can be carried into your home, crawling up walls and living inside cracks of plaster, ceilings, in attics, or inside a dog kennel.  Did I mention that ticks carry disease to humans as well? Tick bites can result in diseases that cause aches, chills, fever, rashes, lesions, paralysis and death in people.
For our animal friends who are less likely to tell you they’ve been bitten by a tick, the threat is the worse.
Lyme disease received an influx of media attention in the 1980s, but it does not manifest itself in dogs the way it does in humans. Instead weeks or months after a bite, animals begin to develop arthritic-like symptoms, and if untreated kidney damage can occur. Cases of Lyme disease in San Diego County are rare, only 1 out of 300 pets tested positive for the disease this year according to information gathered by CAPC, the Companion Animal Parasite Council. The disease is much more prevalent in regions of northern California.
More alarming are the statistics for the increasing presence of Ehrlichiosis, another tick-borne disease which inhabits and destroys white blood cells, and can result in abnormal bleeding and inflammation, neurological issues, kidney failure and paralysis in dogs. Ehrichiosis was first noted in military dogs returning from service in the Vietnam War, and since then CDC estimates a slight increase in reported cases in humans from 2000 to 2008. A CAPC report found this year 1 out of 42 dogs have tested positive for the disease in San Diego County, representing 14% of all cases reported in California.
Cats are also at risk to tick-borne disease, mostly outdoor cats able to roam through brush, tall grass, or wooded areas. Ticks can transmit several diseases to cats including Babesia, Cytauxzoonosis and Mycoplasma with varying symptoms such as fever, lack of appetite, jaundice and anemia. Ticks carried into a home by cats can still transmit disease to humans after feeding off of their pets.
The best way to prevent pets from being infected with these diseases is to prevent the tick from biting. Fipronil, otherwise known as Frontline, is a topical solution applied to the skin that discourages ticks from staying on the pet. Selamectin, or Revolution, is labeled to control the American dog tick only. A newer product called Vectra 3D, wards off ticks by keeping them off of the skin and begins killing certain species in one hour, with a total-kill of all tick species in 24 hours.
Certain products, including Frontline for DogsRevolution for Dogs and Vectra 3D, are not to be used on cats and can be fatal. Currently, only products containing etofenprox, fipronil, and flumethrin are approved for use on cats. Because cats are more sensitive to pesticides, it’s better to limit a cat’s outdoor time and check all animals thoroughly for ticks by running your hands down the pet’s body. The veterinarians at Morena Pet Hospital can help you pick which product is right for your pet, but make sure to read all information and packaging when purchasing any tick prevention product.
Since no product is 100% effective all of the time, if you do find a tick on your pet, they can be removed with rubbing alcohol and tweezers, taking extra care to make sure you do not squeeze or twist the body of the tick and that you remove the entire head of the tick as well.  Make sure the tick does not transmit any disease to you during removal. Any “tried and true” methods of tick removal involving turpentine, nail polish, petroleum jelly or open-flame matches need to stay in the 1900s and NOT be used on an animal.
If it sounds complicated, it’s because it actually is, and tick removal is a task best accomplished by a veterinarian.  If you suspect your pet has been exposed to ticks, or bitten by a tick, contact the staff of Morena Pet Hospital right away.

Current Advice on Ectoparasite – Tick Control.
CDC – Tick Borne Diseases.
CDC - Statistics and Epidemiology, Annual Cases of Ehrlichiosis in the United States.

ASPCA – Cat Care – Ticks.


Have some fun with us by entering our ‘I Love My Pet’ Pin to Win Pinterest Board Contest!

 We have a PET-PERFECT prize pack to give away: Complimentary Physical Exam, Flea/Heartworm Prevention & a New Toy for your Pet! No Better Way to Kick Off Summer Right For Your Pet!

  How to Enter:

          1. Follow us on Pinterest.

          2. Repin our contest photo:

It's that SIMPLE! Feel free to get acquainted with our Pinterest boards. We love to see photos of your pets so we welcome you to create a board of your own and share on to our page by adding @ Morena Pet Hospital to your board's description.

Don't forget to share this contest with your friends & family!

Contest ends July 31, 2014. Happy Pinning!








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