NOW OFFERING: Laparoscopic-Assisted Ovariohysterectomy (Spay) by Dr. Nadia Rifat

We’re so excited to offer a less invasive, less painful, way to spay your dog! Keep reading for more information and give us a call at 925 937 5000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat

Why does a dog need to be spayed?
Spaying a dog consists of performing an ovariohysterectomy (OHE). The reasons we spay dogs is to reduce pet overpopulation, reduce the chance of mammary cancer development (must be done at a very young age to gain this benefit), and to prevent a life threatening uterine infection (pyometra). Approximately 25% of intact female dogs by 10 years of age will develop a pyometra.

What are the surgical options for spaying my dog?
The traditional open ovariohysterectomy, or a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy. The traditional open ovariohysterectomy has been performed for many decades, and when performed by an experienced veterinarian there are rarely any complications and the recovery is typically quick. More recently, laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy surgeries have become another surgical option for medium to large breed dogs. The difference is that the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy incision is smaller than the open approach because visualization of the organs and surgery is performed through the laparoscope.

What is the benefit of having my dog undergo a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterctomy vs an open ovariohysterectomy?
Although there are few pain studies to compare laparoscopic procedures to an open traditional surgical approach, the opinion of veterinarians performing laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy procedures is that this approach is less invasive and less painful than the open approach. Dr. Chad Devitt evaluated the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy versus an open traditional ovariohysterectomy (Duration, complications, stress, and pain of open ovariohysterectomy versus a simple method of laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005;227:921–927). His conclusion was the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy procedures caused less surgical pain than the traditional open ovariohysterectomy procedures and may be more appropriate for an outpatient setting.

What are the potential complications of a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterctomy?
Complications from laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy are rare but can include: hemorrhage, subcutaneous emphysema, iatrogenic perforation of the splenic capsule during trocar placement, inability to complete the procedure requiring conversion to laparotomy, pain, seroma formation, and rarely infection.

How do I schedule my dog for a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy?
Make a pre-surgical appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat, who is the surgeon that performs the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy procedures at Encina Veterinary Hospital. She will perform an examination on your dog and talk to you about the procedure. We will schedule your dog for surgery and submit pre-anesthetic bloodwork to make sure your dog is in good health. If your dog is at risk for a GDV (see information about laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy) that surgery can be scheduled concurrently.

NOW OFFERING: Laparoscopic-Assisted Gastropexy by Dr. Nadia Rifat

Laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy

What is a GDV?
Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) is an acute emergency medical condition characterized by gastric distension and abnormal twisting of the stomach. This causes the stomach to become over distended. have a decreased blood flow, and eventually lead to circulatory shock and death. The lifetime risk for a large or giant breed dog developing GDV is 24% and 21% respectively and their risk of dying of GDV is 7%. Even with appropriate medical and surgical intervention, case fatality rates between 10% and 33% have been reported.

Why do dogs develop a GDV?
No single cause of GDV exists. Reported risk factors for GDV include a familial history of GDV, lean deep chested breeds, older dogs, dogs that eat quickly, dogs that eat from a raised bowl, and dogs that only eat dry food and/or a single large meal, and dogs that have a fearful temperament. Dogs that have had a splenectomy also might be at greater risk for development of a GDV.

Does my dog need a gastropexy?
There are many breeds that are at risk for developing GDV. The most at-risk breed is the Great Dane (40% will develop a GDV). Other breeds that are at risk include Irish Setters, Weimaraners, Standard Poodles, and Rottweilers. In general, this condition can occur in any deep chested large breed dog. Most surgeons agree that a prophylactic gastropexy in patients considered “at risk” for GDV (gastric dilatation and volvulus) is a worthwhile procedure.

What is a laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy?
Laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy is a minimally invasive surgery that allows the surgeon to perform the surgery through a smaller incision than the typical surgical approach used to perform a gastropexy. During the laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy, one small incision is made just behind the ribs on the right side of the abdomen. It is through this incision that the laparoscope is introduced into the abdomen and the gastropexy procedure performed. With this surgical technique, there is less pain and the recovery much quicker compared to the typical gastropexy approach with a large incision.

Can there be complications from the gastropexy?
Multiple studies about laparoscopic-assisted gastropexies showed only the following minor complications: temporary skin fold at the side of the of the gastropexy immediately after the surgery (47%), seroma formation at the site of the gastropexy (6%), and iatrogenic perforation of the splenic capsule during trocar placement (12%).

When should I schedule my dog for a laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy?
The timing of the gastropexy does not seem to be critical. The stomach can be successfully attached to the abdominal wall in puppies, without compromising gastrointestinal function, which means the gastropexy can be incorporated into the same procedure as a spay or castration, or when the abdomen is being explored or opened for another reason. Alternatively, it can be performed as an elective procedure.

How do I schedule my dog for a laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy?
Make a pre-surgical appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat, who is the surgeon that performs the laparoscopic-assisted gastropexies at Encina Veterinary Hospital. She will perform an examination on your dog and talk to you about the procedure. We will schedule your dog for surgery and submit pre-anesthetic bloodwork to make sure your dog is in good health.

call us today at 925 937 5000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat to see if your dog is a good candidate for laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy

Free First Wellness/Annual Veterinary Exam with Dr. Nadia Rifat for New Clients

We’re offering ALL new clients the opportunity of a *FREE* first wellness/annual exam with our newest doctor, Dr. Nadia Rifat!

You can get to know Dr. Rifat by clicking here and reading our blog about her.

Trupanion Pet Insurance: Vet Direct Pay

Trupanion Medical Insurance can pay your veterinary bill in minutes

When your pet gets ill or injured, we want you to be able to focus on the health and well-being of your pet. Medical insurance can help you deal with unexpected veterinary expenses and provide your pet with the best medical care. Trupanion can cover a significant portion of your veterinary bill (up to 90% of eligible costs*) in minutes. With a Trupanion policy, our clients often pay only their part of the bill at checkout and leave the hospital without waiting for claim approvals and reimbursements. You can learn more about Trupanion coverage and direct payments at Trupanion.com/

Trupanion medical insurance for your pet

*Terms and conditions apply. Please see the policy for complete details at Trupanion.com/pet-insurance. **Trupanion will process the claim according to the terms of the policy. Actual claim payment may be different from the estimate you provided to your client. Trupanion is a registered trademark owned by Trupanion, Inc. Underwritten in Canada by Omega General Insurance Company and in the United States by American Pet Insurance Company, 6100-4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108. Please visit AmericanPetInsurance.com to review all available pet health insurance products.

February – April 2018: Save $100 Off Dental Cleanings with Wellness Exam at Encina Veterinary Hospital

Dear Clients of Encina Veterinary Hospital.

It is very important that our pets get proper dental care. It is estimated that 85% of our pets will have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth and the main cause of early tooth loss. In the early stages of periodontal disease, food particles combine with bacteria to form plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals from saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria will travel under the gums and cause gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. As the bacterial infection progresses the supporting tissue around the teeth become weakened, which leads to tooth loss.

The proper way to address your pet’s dental disease is to have a veterinarian perform a dental cleaning under general anesthesia. While a patient is anesthetized we have a breathing tube in place to provide gas anesthesia and oxygen, have intravenous fluids going into the patient during the entire procedure, have extensive monitoring equipment (EKG, pulse oximetry, blood pressure, capnograph) attached to the patient, and one anesthetist monitoring the patient under the supervision of the veterinarian. This allows the veterinarian to do a full examination of the teeth and supporting structures, and to take x rays of all the teeth to assess the roots and supporting bone. Following the evaluation, the veterinarian will remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth and clean below the gum line. It would not be possible to do this properly without the use of general anesthesia. Unless your pet needs extractions the final step is to polish the teeth.

The benefits of a proper dental cleaning are that the plaque and tartar can be removed from the teeth and below the gum line along with the bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease. It is important to know that gingivitis is reversible, but periodontal disease is not reversible. If you notice your pet has bad breath or their teeth have gingivitis or plaque/tartar it is not too soon to have your pet scheduled for a dental cleaning.

As a way of promoting dental health for our patients we are offering our clients a $100 discount on dental cleanings for each pet that is scheduled during February, March, and April 2018, with Dr. Aengus, Dr. Milauskas, or Dr. Rifat. All you have to do is give us a call at 925-937-5000, schedule your pet’s dental cleaning during the above months, and provide us with the dental cleaning coupon at the time you bring your pet in for the scheduled cleaning. You can find the coupon at the bottom of this email for convenience.

We look forward to seeing you in the coming months as we continue our partnership to provide your pets with the veterinary care they need to remain healthy.

Regards,
Dr. Peter Nurre
Medical Director

Welcome Dr. Nadia Rifat to Encina Veterinary Hospital!

This month we welcome back Dr. Nadia Rifat to Encina Veterinary Hospital in Walnut Creek, as another general practice doctor!


Nadia Rifat, DVM
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Education: Bachelor of Science from Purdue University 2007, Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from University of California, Davis 2011

Professional Interests: preventative care, geriatric care, pain management

Personal Interests: anything and everything outdoors, including trail running, backpacking, skiing, and rock climbing; always including her rescue pup, Josie, if possible.

Professional Organizations: AVMA, CVMA, and CAVMRC (California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps).



“Growing up, I was surrounded by a family of medical doctors and nurses, so it was not surprising that I would gravitate towards a career in medicine. My innate love of animals, and learning about the impact of the human animal bond, were what lead me towards a career in veterinary medicine rather than human medicine, a field in which I felt I could help animals and people alike.”

January – February 2018: Save 25% on Comprehensive Lab Panel with Wellness Exam at Encina Veterinary Hospital

Dear Clients of Encina Veterinary Hospital,

Encina Veterinary Hospital prides ourselves on providing the best possible care for our patients, and part of this includes the recommendation that each of our patients have regular wellness examinations, which allows us to detect medical conditions in the early stages. When we detect medical conditions in earlier stages it is more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty, and better success. It is all too often that we diagnose medical conditions in the late stages when our patients are very sick and need more intense treatment.

A wellness evaluation consists of your veterinarian taking a detailed history about your pet, performing a physical examination, and possibly performing diagnostic tests to evaluate for conditions not detected on a physical examination, such as kidney disease. If kidney disease is diagnosed in the early stage it can sometimes be treated by simply changing your pet’s diet. Whereas, if kidney disease is diagnosed in the late stages then treatment might consist of hospitalization with intravenous fluids and other supportive care measures before being discharged on multiple medications and often times a short survival time. This is one example of the value of wellness exams.

As a way of promoting the value of wellness exams we are excited to announce that we are making January and February our Wellness months. During these months (01/01/2018 – 02/28/2018) we are offering our clients a 25% discount on comprehensive laboratory panels that we perform on any of your pets. All that we require is that you have a wellness examination for your pet in the month of January or February and present the wellness laboratory panel coupon at that appointment. You can find the coupon at the bottom of this letter and you are able to either print the email or present the coupon to your doctor’s assistant on your smart phone.

We look forward to seeing you soon with your pets to start the new year thinking about the health and wellness of your furry family members.

Wishing you the best in 2018,
Dr. Peter Nurre
Medical Director


Leptospirosis – Deadly Bacteria in Wild Life Urine

When wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, coyotes, deer, and rodents urinate, they excrete bacteria in their urine – one of the bacteria found in their urine is called Leptospirosis. This bacteria is often times deadly to our beloved dogs. When dogs go to parks or on hikes and drink the random standing puddles of water, they get infected with this awful bacteria. Often times, the rain makes this more prevalent and helps spread this bacteria around – what looks like a typical puddle of rain water, may really have Leptospirosis in it.

Symptoms of infection include loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Without treatment, dogs may suffer from kidney failure and pass away – time is of the essence and dogs need treatment as soon as possible.

Once a dog is infected, the dog may even spread the bacteria to other pets through their own urine and even humans too – yes, you read that right – YOU can get Leptospirosis (lepto) too!

Besides avoiding free standing water and puddles, the best way to protect your dog is to vaccinate them against the bacteria. You never know what that one random lick on a Saturday hike with your pup may lead to – we recommend every dog owner to be safe by vaccinating their pet, and not sorry.

If you suspect your pet may have Leptospirosis/Lepto, please call us 24/7: 925 937 5000

CareCredit Financing for Veterinary Care


CareCredit knows pets are family too. That’s why they offer veterinary financing to help keep your most cherished family members in top shape, and why we accept it!

Whether you use it to cover annual expenses like preventative care check-ups or for unexpected costs like pet prescriptions and emergencies, the CareCredit healthcare credit card makes it easy to give your pets the care they need, when they need it.

Here are just some of the many small and large animal veterinary procedures you can use your CareCredit healthcare credit card for:

  • Annual check-ups
  • Spay and neutering
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Parasites
  • Medication
  • Diagnostics
  • Emergency services
  • Care of chronic pet diseases and conditions
  • Vaccinations
  • Microchipping
  • Pet Food and Nutrition
  • Surgical Procedures
  • Each of our departments – general, internal medicine, oncology, neurology, dentistry, surgery, emergency – including consult fees, diagnostics, treatments, etc

CareCredit.com/VetMed

Valentine’s Day Pet Dangers

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, but sometimes those festivities can turn dangerous for our pets. Here are some Valentine’s day treats that can harm our beloved pets:

  • Flowers: lilies, roses,
  • Treats: chocolate (besides the cocoa, ingredients like Xylitol, nuts, raisins, coffee, alcohol, marijuana, can cause further harm to your pets)
  • Alcohol
  • Medication: headache/hangover medications, erectile dysfunction meds, hormonal birth control

If you suspect your pet may have gotten into something they shouldn’t have, please call us asap – we’re open 24/7: 925 937 5000