An Act of Love: Why Microchipping Your Pet Matters

Dog in a cone.

Pets wear snazzy collars as a way to highlight their style and personality, but they’re useful, too. Not only necessary for their leash, but collars show proof of license, rabies vaccination, and ownership. Despite their obvious utility, collars can be removed on purpose or fall off accidentally. As a result, pets need an added layer of security in case they get lost or go missing. Microchipping your pet is an incredible act of love that never stops working to prevent permanent loss. 

All It Takes

One small moment can change a pet owner’s life forever. Whether you lose a grip on the leash at the park or your pet nudges their way out through a cracked front door, their fate could become sealed in a short time. In addition to simply roaming around without a clear way to return home, pets can get stolen by strangers, re-adopted, or seriously injured. 

The Little Things

Microchipping your pet is a type of insurance against permanent loss. Not a substitute for their ID tag and collar, microchips add another layer of protection. We include microchipping as part of our puppy and kitten wellness plans.

About the size of a grain of rice and enclosed in biocompatible glass, microchips are implanted between the shoulder blades. They do not track location or transmit data of any kind. Instead, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology stores a unique identification number. When a handheld scanning device is placed over the area, an LED screen on the scanner will display the chip’s number. 

Animal shelters and many animal hospitals have these scanners and use them all the time to either look for the existence of a chip or read its number. 

Does It Hurt?

The mechanism to implant the chip is similar to a routine vaccination, and can be done at your pet’s next wellness exam. Sometimes we can microchip pets during a surgical procedure, like a spay/neuter or dental cleaning. Perceived as a valuable, yet low-cost, preventive measure, microchipping your pet is an essential component of responsible ownership. 

Other Key Points

Once a pet’s unique identification number is keyed into a national database, their owner’s name and contact information will be revealed. However, this step is not automatic. It is up to the individual pet owner to register their pet’s microchip with the manufacturer and update any information if it ever changes. Without this crucial step, microchips are ineffective at facilitating a safe return home. A shocking number of microchips are never registered or updated every year. 

Together Forever

Your pet is an integral part of the family. They deserve to have a chance to get home safely if they ever get lost or go missing. Microchipping your pet is a part of a great defense against permanent separation. 

When pets are picked up by animal control or brought to shelters by well-meaning civilians, only a small percentage of them ever return to their original home. With millions of pets entering the shelter system every year, be sure that your pet can be returned to you by way of their microchip.

Microchipping Your Pet

This process is fast, easy, relatively, cheap, and totally worth the peace of mind. If you have any questions about microchipping your pet, please give us a call at  (209) 527‑5855. Veterinary Medical Associates is always happy to help you!

Dental Care

One of the most important things we do as veterinarians is helping you provide the very best quality of life for your companion. To achieve this goal, we need to evaluate our patients on a regular basis. This is especially important when it comes to disease processes that are insidious in their presentation. They can be hidden from “view” until the disease has progressed far down the line.

Dental disease is just such a process. As is the case with us humans, teeth need to be cared for in our companions. It is always best to prevent dental disease as opposed to having to treat it. Obviously, teeth are inside our companions’ mouths and relatively out of sight. And unfortunately, as we all know: out of sight, out of mind,  This is one of the reasons it is important to have your companion examined by your veterinarian on an annual basis in the younger years and semiannually as they age.

If dental disease is discovered, it is a quality of life issue and needs to be addressed. Left untreated, dental disease can lead to systemic disease that can affect the liver, the kidneys, the bladder, and the heart, not to mention the pain your companion endures when they suffer dental abscesses which are commonly associated with advancing dental disease.

Once dental disease is cured, regular cleaning, polishing and fluoride treating of the teeth will go a long way in preventing a recurrence.  

Caring for Our Aging Companions

Aging is an inevitable consequence of life, true for us humans as it is for our companions. With the aging process, there are physical changes that can affect many body systems some are preventable to some degree while others are less so. I would like to discuss here the aging process specifically in reference to canines and felines.


Handling the Heat

To quote a relatively popular song by the late Glenn Frye, “The Heat is On.” This is not only true for us two legged creatures, but also definitely applies to our four-legged companions.

With temperatures in the Central Valley reaching, on average, the mid nineties and even higher most days, there are necessary precautions, both general and species specific, that we as caretakers need to take in order to prevent disaster. I will touch on some of both. Continue…

Heartworm Disease in Dogs

images[10]What Is Heartworm Disease?

Canine heartworm disease develops when a dog is bitten by a mosquito carrying microscopic heartworm larvae (juvenile worms) of a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis.

As a mosquito feeds, these microscopic larvae are deposited on the dog and quickly penetrate the skin to begin their migration into the dog’s bloodstream.

Adult heartworms can grow 10-12 inches in length and make their home in the right side of the heart and pulmonary (lung) arteries, often causing lung disease and heart failure.

Adult heartworms can grow 10-12 inches in length.


Pet-Proofing Your Home

Terrier PicCommon-sense Precautions

So you adopted a new pet? Congratulations! The next step is pet-proofing your home- safety first!

There are many hidden dangers to your new friend within your home in the form of every-day objects. With a few simple precautions, you can protect your pet and prevent many of the common veterinary emergencies. Continue…

Why is my cat spraying?

Elmo PicInappropriate urination

Help! My cat is spraying in my house and won’t stop! Why is he doing this?

This is often one of the smelliest and most frustrating problems that cats may develop. Getting to the root of the problem is key:

  • Is kitty “acting out” due to some change in the household
  • Showing marking behavior of an unneutered male
  • Is it due to medical causes such as a urinary tract infection or bladder stones?

Deciphering kitty’s reasoning for his actions is the first key step in changing the behavior pattern and restoring some sense of order to your household. Continue…

Cats Get Bored Too!

Cat Crown PicEasy Home Enrichment for Your Cat

Your cat spends its days within your home, 24/7. Have you ever wondered if he/she gets bored? The answer is absolutely yes! Without environmental enrichment (aka: something to do), your cat may turn to undesirable or destructive behaviors to entertain itself.

The good news is that enriching your home environment is easy! The goal is to maximize your cat’s quality of life through simple changes to your house and daily routine. Continue…

Crate Training

PITA cageCrate Training Your Pet

Have you ever thought about crate-training your dog or cat?

There is a lot of misconception about crating pets, ranging from concerns about “locking them up” or that “it’s too small a space- he can’t possibly be comfortable in there!”

In fact, when introduced properly to your pet, a crate can become a safe retreat for your pet, a place where he can go to get away from things he is scared of or to rest and relax in peace. Continue…

Lumps & Bumps- What is this mass on my dog?

Canadian_Golden_Retriever[1]You were petting your dog this morning and found a bump that you’re sure was not there last week- is it serious? The short answer is: possibly.

Dogs tend to develop lumps and bumps as they age; whether these are something to worry about or can be safely ignored can be difficult to tell based on the appearance alone. Continue…