MPH Blog

Posts for: March, 2013

By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
March 29, 2013
Category: Pet Safety


Spring has sprung here in San Diego and along with the changing of the clocks our thoughts inevitably turn to Easter celebrations.  Over the years I’m sure a good many of us pet owners have had a few chuckles about the seasonal Cadbury bunny commercials, but we must remind ourselves that this season can turn ‘not-so-funny’ quickly for our pets.  To help make this celebration a little brighter for you and your pets, we have come up with the following pet safety tips to help your furry, feathered, or scaled friends avoid any mishaps or misfortunes.

Thy chocolate is not a delicacy for pets.  Although enjoyed around the world and in mass quantities during holiday seasons, chocolate can cause a significant amount of harm to your pet.  While dogs tend to be most commonly affected largely due to their eating habits, chocolate can indeed be toxic to cats, as well as other pets.  

It is best to keep our furry companions safe by keeping them away from all forms of chocolate. Perhaps your pet may enjoy an Easter basket filled with a new toy or one of the many safe and healthy treats available for pets that are just as tasty and satisfying.       (See Chocolate Toxicity Q&A)

Keep all Easter Lilies away from thy cats.  All members of the Lilium group (Easter Lily, Stargazer Lily, Tiger Lily, Rubrum Lily, and Asian Lily) produce a chemical (present in all parts of the plant) that can damage cat kidneys.  Lilies are so potent that a cat can suffer fatal kidney failure just from biting into a leaf, licking lily pollen from its paws, or drinking water from a vase of lilies! (See Case Study: Lily Toxicity)

Easter plastic grass and foiled candy wrappers are no friends of pets.  These items are non-digestible and if consumed can get caught in the intestines, and potentially cause an internal obstruction.  These hazards may also lead to choking and strangulation.

Resist impulse adoptions.  Before becoming “twitterpated” with the idea of adopting a bunny, chicks, or other pet, please do your homework first.  These cute babies grow up fast and often require specialized care, not to mention the feeding, cleaning, grooming, and medical responsibilities you have for the lifetime of your pet.

Rather than making a decision impulsively (which unfortunately, more times than not in these situations, lead to an unhappy owner and worse, an unwanted pet), your best bet is to thoroughly evaluate your current lifestyle and determine how compatible this particular pet would fit within your life.

Taking these simple precautions will go a long way to ensure your Easter holiday is a joyful occasion to remember for both you and your pets.

As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous from the picnic table, please contact a veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435.


By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
March 19, 2013
Category: Pet events
We were so happy to take part in Petco's Mego Adoption Fair this past weekend, held at the Petco Sports Arena.  Our veterinary hospital along with many local pet rescue groups and associations came together on Saturday to help network some of these orphaned animals and educate both pet owners and potential pet owners on proper pet care. 
To witness the love & joy of a new home for the many rescued animals was priceless and we are pleased to announce that over 35 pets were adopted throughout the day and given the second chances they deserve! 


By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
March 17, 2013
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: Untagged


Do not leave your pet’s safety to luck this St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and those who live or have visited San Diego during this time of year, know that us San Diegans know how to celebrate.  We realize pets are increasingly being considered parts of the family, so it is understandable that you may wish to include them in the holiday festivities, especially since San Diego is one of the pet-friendliest cities!  That is why it is so important to keep in mind the following pet safety tips.

  • Do not leave alcoholic beverages unattended where pets can reach them.  This is no laughing matter.  Alcohol is potentially hazardous to pets, so make sure your pet does not accidentally consume any wine, beer, or mixed drinks with all of the excitement going on. 
  • Keep your pet on his/her normal diet.  Although those begging eyes are hard to resist, it is important to stick with your pet’s normal diet.  Traditional Irish foods such as sauerkraut, cabbage, sausage, and corned beef are not good options for your pet. Scraps from the grill can lead to upset stomachs and potential intestinal obstructions or even worse can potentially be toxic for your pet (onions, avocado, chocolate, grapes, and raisins are all toxic to pets)!
  • Parades, bars, and parties will be taking place all around town.  If your pet is comfortable with crowds and well-trained on a leash, feel free to let him/her join in on the fun.  However, the noise of doorbells and shouting of strangers can be alarming to pets.  If your pet gets overwhelmed easily, it may be best to take a detour and walk your pet away from those busy areas.  Remember to have your pet’s identification on them and ensure it is updated with current contact information.  A collar with tags, microchip, and/or TAGG system can greatly increase the chances for your pet’s safe return.
  • When purchasing a St. Paddy’s Day costume for your pet, ensure that the costumes are comfortable and free of any chewable parts or objects that could come off and be swallowed.  Not all pets take to wearing costumes and forcing them into one may cause undue stress for both you and your pet.  For those pets that do welcome dressing up, be sure to choose a costume that does not impair your pet’s vision, movement, or air intake.
  • Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular trend in today’s society.  Unfortunately, your furry companions have not been blessed with a green coat, but some pet-owners have found ways around this.  If you are going to dye your pet’s fur coat green, ensure that you are using a non-toxic, all-natural, edible vegetable dye.
  • Looking to make an Irish dog your next companion?  Consider the following breeds: Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Setter, Wheaten Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Glen of Imaal Terrier, or an Irish Wolfhound.  Be sure to consult with your local animal shelters and rescue groups, then you’ll both be in luck! 

Taking these simple precautions will go a long way to ensure your St. Patrick's Day (or St. Paw-trick's Day for those animal lovers) is a joyful occasion to remember.

By Morena Pet Hospital
March 01, 2013
Category: Dentistry


Dear Pet Owner,

Cats and dogs, like people, have one set of baby teeth which are replaced by a set of permanent teeth at around 6 months of age. These teeth have to last a lifetime, which is why it's so important for your pet to have a regular dental check-up every 6 months to one year.

Have you looked inside of your pet's mouth lately? It seems like an odd thing to do, but it's a huge step towards proper pet healthcare. Oral disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in patients of small animal hospitals. Studies show that as many as 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop signs of periodontal disease or gingivitis before they reach three years of age.

During a dental check-up, your pet's teeth will be examined for cavities, faulty enamel, root exposure, tartar, and any sign of loose or cracked teeth. In addition, the gums will be examined for any sign of disease or inflammation. By far, the most common form of dental disease in animals is dental calculus - plaque buildup.

Plaque is an accumulation of soft tissue and bacterial debris mixed with salivary secretions, and it can cause serious problems including gum recession, loosening of the periodontal ligament and teeth, loss of bone surrounding the teeth, and tooth abscesses. Symptoms include bad breath, mouth pain, and an inability to chew properly. Some of the more serious problems associated with periodontal disease occur when bacteria from the plaque gets into the sinuses, and from there into the bloodstream. The bacteria then finds its way to the areas of high blood flow, potentially causing disease in heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.

The good news is PREVENTION is easy! Start by having your pet’s teeth and gums periodically examined for evidence of dental problems once or twice a year and professionally cleaned as needed. Imagine what might happen if you hadn’t seen a dentist until you were 20 years old! A dental exam and cleaning should become part of your pet’s regular veterinary visits. 

A diet of dry food, as well as hard treats, and even regular tooth brushing with a pet-specific toothpaste can help to maintain your pet's dental health between tooth cleanings. Starting your pet on a dental care regimen can help detect existing problems early before they become more serious and also prevent new ones from starting. With dental disease, just with any health-care issue, the best defense is a good offense! Working together, we can help keep your pet’s teeth and his/her overall health in check. At your next visit, please ask us for a hands-on lesson in providing good home dental care for your pet.

Call to have your pet’s dental health evaluated today!


The Doctors and Staff of Morena Pet Hospital