Caring For Exotic Pets: A Guide from Modesto Veterinary Medical Associates

Pet ferret

The world of exotic pet care is highly specialized and nuanced. Birds, reptiles, rodents, amphibians, and rabbits round out the typical list of exotic pets, but there are numerous breeds of each species of exotic pets available for legal adoption. The list of possible exotic pets is by no means exhaustive. As such, we are happy to see and treat all exotic pets, and look forward to sharing best practices for the special care they require. 


Paws and Prevention: Preparing Pets For Summer Months

dog drinking water

Humans have a strong knee jerk reaction to discomfort, and that is to do whatever it takes to neutralize the source. Pets, on the other hand, don’t have the same luxury. While they do have certain biological adaptations that help them cope with stressors, such as panting to regulate internal body temperature, they aren’t totally equipped to reduce their risks in the heat. Preparing pets for summer months is an important task, and we’re here to help all pets stay safe. 


Spay and Neuter Awareness Month: Promoting Responsible Pet Ownership

national spay and neuter awareness month.

We all want what is best for our pets so that we can enjoy them for as long as possible. Doing everything that we can to support overall pet health is important to us at Veterinary Medical Associates. We also have to think about overall animal wellness within our communities. Pet spay and neuter can play a big role in individual health as well as within the greater whole, and fall among one of the more important pet owner responsibilities. 


How to Prevent Foxtail Injuries

Foxtail grass.
A cluster of foxtail that shines in the backlight

Their relentless presence is upon us once again.  They are growing right before our eyes just waiting to attack.  What is he writing about you might ask?  These “beasts” to which I refer are foxtails. 

Foxtails are the collective term we use to refer to seed awns of certain grasses that grow throughout California.  These are non-native grasses that have invaded our state and they can cause all kinds of problems in our companions, especially our canines. 

Why Are Foxtails Dangerous?

Foxtails have rows of barbs that face one direction and allow the foxtail to stick to various surfaces including hair coats of our dogs, as well as find their way into any available orifice the dog might have and even create their own opening as well.  These barbs allow migration in only one direction, in, and they do not come back out.  

I have pulled them from ear canals, vaginal vaults, rectal spaces, lung lobes, tonsil recesses in the throat, nasal passages, inside the feet and up the legs and the list goes on. As one might imagine there can be considerable damage and infectious disease caused by foxtails invading these various areas.  Left untreated these processes can lead to grave consequences.

How to Prevent Foxtail Injuries?

Be on the lookout when you are out walking/running your dog in any area where these grasses are growing. I like to check my dog’s legs and paws after walking through any area with nearby foxtails and immediately pull them off before they migrate.  Make sure your yard is clear of them as well.  Do not simply mow them down as the seed awns will still be ready to attack. Clean them up!  

How Can I Tell If My Dog Has a Foxtail Injury?

The ears and the paws, in that order, are the most common sights of a foxtail injury. With a foxtail in the ear, you may see your dog shaking his head, pawing at his ear, or in a more advanced stage of infection, discharge, or odor from the ear. In a paw, you may see a raised lesion between the toes and possible oozing puss. Your dog may also be licking his paw excessively. 

An inhaled foxtail will likely lead to sneezing, discharge (often bloody) from the nose, and possibly breathing difficulties. Red, swollen, irritated eyes may be an indication of a foxtail, along with pawing at the eye. Signs of a less common vaginal foxtail include excessive licking and discharge that may or may not be bloody.

If you suspect your dog has a foxtail injury, please call us at 209-527-5855. 

National Adopt A Senior Pet Month

old dog.

Homelessness is heartbreaking at any age, but is especially distressing for senior animals. Too many senior pets spend long periods of time in shelters waiting for their people to take them home. This November, during Adopt a Senior Pet Month, we encourage every animal lover to consider adopting a senior pet. 


Celebrating Adopt A Dog Month

man holding his adopted dog.

Most people that love animals have heard the phrase “adopt, don’t shop,” but why exactly is adoption considered a better option? For starters, adopting a homeless pet is typically the more affordable option. Perhaps more importantly, adoption saves lives and frees up space in the shelter system for more pets to find their forever people. 

October is Adopt a Dog month. This nationally-recognized effort is designed to encourage prospective dog owners to take the leap toward adoption and responsible ownership. Since we know first hand the powerful impact that dogs have on our lives, we’d like to help others embrace this experience of lifetime. 


Amphibian & Reptile Care Basics

vet holding a lizard.

If you’re more of a lizard or frog person than a dog or cat person, you might be wondering how to care for your reptile or amphibian. It takes a whole different set of skills than caring for a furry friend, that’s for sure! But we think it’s pretty fun.

To help you get started, the team at Veterinary Medical Associates shares the basics of amphibian and reptile care. 


The Importance of Immunization For Your Pet

dog getting immunized.

We’re dedicated to helping pet owners protect their best friends from many terrible diseases all year round, but August is National Immunization Awareness month. This important campaign aims to elevate the importance of routine vaccines so that more of our furry friends achieve the health and happiness they deserve.