Tinkerbell Hanson’s Life Story, Remembering

We recently said our goodbyes to a dear patient of ours, Tinkerbell. Here is her story, written by her wonderful human, Diana:

Tinkerbell Hanson’s Life Story

To Dr. Wang, Suzanne and the Staff at East Bay Veterinary Hospital,
I wanted to share with you Tinkerbell’s story

I was driving home June 2nd 2017, a Friday night around 5:00 after work, and I usually go over the Altamont pass and take the back roads home through Byron because of Vasco Road traffic. When I got near the bottom of the off ramp (click the link https://www.google.com/maps/@37.7402525,-121.5857948,467m/data=!3m1!1e3 to see how isolated this area is) in the middle of nowhere I saw a gray tabby in the dry grass just about 10 feet from the road. She was sticking her head up, looking for someone, but then ducked back down. I put my window down and called to her. Cars were coming up behind me so I had to pull away. I felt terrible and thought about the kitty throughout the evening.

The next morning, I woke early and went to visit my dad who had dementia, as I did every morning, who was in a memory care residence in Pleasanton. I left my dad’s around 9:45 am and headed home. I was going to take Vasco home since there is not much traffic on the weekends. At the very last second I remembered the kitty and got back on the freeway and went over the Altamont Pass knowing that it was impossible for that cat to still be at the off ramp. Yes, as you probably guessed she was in the exact same spot! I pulled as much to the side of the off ramp as I could and got out of the car. I went into the dry grass probably filled with snakes! The kitty ran from me a bit but I was eventually able to catch her! Then she got scared and started trying to get out of my grip and I didn’t have anything to put her in to secure her for the drive home. It breaks my heart to say I had to let her go. I knew I would go home and recruit help. I didn’t feel safe being alone there in the snaky grass in the middle of nowhere.

I got home and started asking for help. My sister has a friend in walnut creek that fosters kitties and has rescued many cats. She now has the feral cats living safely in her yard and they are cared for beautifully. My sister calls it a sanctuary and she is right! My sister and the gal named Cricket were at a swim meet for the kids and couldn’t help me at the time I called, but Cricket said she would take the kitty if we caught her.

I messaged my best friend Lori in Dublin and she and her husband Mike dropped everything and met me there at the off ramp. No kitty! Mike went a few feet away from where I had seen the cat and there was a flattened cardboard box. He lifted the box and the cat ran out. Lori ran interference and made sure the cat didn’t come down to the lower road. Together Mike and I tried to catch the cat and the cat ran up the hill to the freeway! The cat was about 6 feet from the traffic zooming by. I closed my eyes and prayed. She then ran under the overpass in the dirt section that runs under it. She was at the top and it was a challenge to get up the hill. Mike was climbing up the grassy, snaky hill under the overpass. Mike managed to carefully get close to the cat and got a hold of her after a few minutes. The kitty seemed to trust him right away. Once he had a hold of her he was petting her and she seemed ok. So I came up the hill with the carrier and finally made my way to them and a motorcycle came by which scared the cat as we were trying to get her in the carrier. She scratched Mike. Thankfully he is ok. We did get the cat inside the carrier.

I loaded her in the car and took her to Cricket in Walnut Creek after picking up my sister Sue. Cricket was so lovely and caring and made a safe and secure spot for the kitty to get settled after a traumatic few days at least. Cricket’s family was so sweet and welcoming about helping this kitty. Cricket said the kitty was dehydrated. I am not surprised by that since it was hot and there is nothing for many miles out in that area.

My sister gave me an update from Cricket that night. This is what Cricket had said, “I just hung out with her in the bathroom and she rubbed up against me and I petted her. She is totally tame.” She also said, “she would start eating then stop and come over to be pet because she was so happy to have attention.” I think that this is the first time in days that the kitty felt safe.

They named her Diana Prince Wonder Woman! Cricket asked me to take the kitty since she had so many feral cats at her house and this kitty was very tame. I had not planned on getting a cat since my cat that I had for over 18 years had passed away not that long before.

My dad with his dementia was my focus. Every morning at 5am I would leave home with coffee and toast with dad’s favorite jelly and get to his facility by 6 am to spend an hour with him before I went to work. It was an important routine since he still responded to me during those visits. I didn’t feel like I could manage having a new cat while my focus was my dad.
But…. I guess it was meant to be.

The journey began. I picked up Tinkerbell in Walnut Creek and renamed her Piper because the way I go home at night takes me by the Byron airport and Piper is a kind of airplane.

I never regretted the choice I made to adopt her.

Shortly after spending time with her I realized that by the way she runs everywhere with a wonderful bounce that she is Tinkerbell!
She adjusted to her new home easily and was affectionate and sweet every moment. She loved every one that she met. When the doorbell rang (most cat owners know that cats hide when the doorbell rings) Tink ran to the front door to greet whoever was visiting. She expected and got attention from the visitors and made herself at home on their lap.

After a few months Tinkerbell had an episode that brought us to East Bay Vet for the first of many times. She was anemic. We met the wonderful Dr. Priest. She was so kind to us (my sister and I) and took us through what was happening and how they were going to help Tinkerbell. I spoke to doctors on each of the shifts and felt so good about the care Tinkerbell was receiving and how well they knew sweet Tinkerbell and each had stories about her. We have had a few evening visits that brought us back to Dr. Priest and each time she was so supportive. The first time was a scary few days. Little did we know then that it was going to be a journey. Tinkerbell has probably seen every doctor (and loved all of them) at the hospital at one time and many specialists across the country know about this mystery kitty.

The evening and overnight Doctor’s, techs and staff played a significant role in this story as well. They are not forgotten by me as I know they spent many evenings and nights with Tinkerbell and caring for her. I knew that she was in great hands and probably loved all the attention she got from them.

I have heard more times than I can count that Tinkerbell had no idea how sick she was and that she had more lives than any cat because of her strong will and love for people.

Over the past several months I heard stories every time Tinkerbell and I came to Encina of the sweet encounters staff had with Tinkerbell, from Tink always being held, meowing at staff as they walked by her cage to give her attention, purring so loud they couldn’t hear her heartbeat and the sweet nicknames that staff had for her. Brianna, during one of Tinkerbell’s overnight stays, went in the back to get Tinkerbell so I could say goodnight before I left. She said that when she went in the back asking for Tinkerbell that Tinkerbell answered her from her cage.  Like, oh that’s me, I am right here.

Even with the many visits we made to Encina there were staff I didn’t recognize but as soon as they saw Tinkerbell they would say, “I know Tinkerbell” or if they saw us in a room would ask if they could say hello to Tinkerbell.
The staff from the front to the back have made me and Tinkerbell feel special over the past year.

Suzanne was always there for us and nothing was ever too much to ask. She was our link to Encina and made sure whatever we needed or asked for we received without hesitation. She greeted us warmly and said nice things to Tinkerbell. She brought Tinkerbell food and water in the room when we were there for appointments because she knew that Tinkerbell was hungry after an hour drive there and hour in the back having tests. Tinkerbell loved to have a snack before we got on the road to head home.

The Hero:
It was Dr. Wang who lead the charge to figure out what was happening to Tinkerbell. She was so patient as we tested, retested, tried this medication and that medication to first try to diagnose the cause of her trouble and try to cure her and then just to keep her stable. It was a balancing act for sure. Dr. Wang called on every resource she had to help Tinkerbell. We had many successes in her treatment and many setbacks but Dr. Wang never gave up trying.

It was a long journey. I can’t express enough how much I appreciate Dr. Wang and everything she did for Tinkerbell. She never gave up or asked me to give up.

But we both knew that one day, as Dr. Wang said, we would not be able to turn things around.

She said that one day it may be “time” and I knew that she would guide me to when that “time” was.

We faced that on Wednesday. A heartbreaking day for me and I am sure for Dr. Wang and the staff at Encina. I could not face being there but I knew that during this time there was no place on earth with as many people who loved Tinkerbell than at Encina. Dr. Wang was so sweet and called me that evening to check on how I was doing. She gave me comfort by telling me that Tinkerbell was held as she passed and that it was peaceful.

My heart was broken and still is over losing Tinkerbell.

She has been such a treasure. I have never, ever met a cat with as much love and charm as Tinkerbell. Thank you for helping me have the past year with Tinkerbell.

Diana

Collecting Needed Items for Eagle Scout Project for Local Animal Rescue

Now through 09/01, we’re helping a local Eagle Scout named Karl collect supplies for a local animal rescue (Bay Area Animal Rescue Crew) – check out the list below and consider dropping by with a goodie for animals in need! Our bin is located in the lobby.

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.

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

Lost or Found Pet/Animal in Contra Costa County

So you’ve either found or lost a pet and don’t know what to do. We’ve put together this quick guide to help get you on the right path of finding your beloved pet or reuniting the furry friend with their human.


LOST PET
1) Post on Craigslist all the details: a photo, collar description, pet description, special needs, phone number to call/email address to email, reward if any, and the last place/time/date the pet was seen
                  https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/laf

2) Post on Facebook: Fido Alert all the details: a photo, collar description, pet description, special needs, phone number to call/email address to email, reward if any, and the last place/time/date the pet was seen.
                  https://www.facebook.com/fidoalertca/posts/556819701146442

3) Post on your own Facebook, Instgram, Twitter, and other Social Media accounts

4) Create a lost pet poster; you can print and post these around town, deliver them to veterinary/pet related businesses in the area, put them on cars, etc
                  http://search.petfbi.org/lost-pet-flyer.aspx

5) Contact your local Animal Shelter and let them know your pet is missing. You can google COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL +ZIP CODE to find your closest one. IE: COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL 94598. Be sure you contact them DAILY regarding your lost pet!

6) Visit local animal businesses like shops, stores, grooming, and veterinary hospitals. Ask if they have seen your pet, and if you can leave a flier (step 4).

7) Don’t lose hope! Some pets return in hours, others in years. We always recommend microchipping your pet as a collar can be lost, but a microchip is forever.



FOUND PET

1) Call your local animal hospital and ask them to scan the pet for a microchip. If the pet has a microchip, the hospital can help you locate the owners right away.

2) Post on Craigslist some details: a not-so-detailed photo, pet description, phone number to call/email address to email, and where the pet was found. Consider having the owner verify something about the pet – a special patch of fur, collar description, etc – this way you know you are reuniting the pet with their rightful owner.
                  https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/laf

3) Post on Facebook, Fido Alert: a not-so-detailed photo, pet description, phone number to call/email address to email, and where the pet was found. Consider having the owner verify something about the pet – a special patch of fur, collar description, etc – this way you know you are reuniting the pet with their rightful owner.
                  https://www.facebook.com/fidoalertca/posts/556819701146442

4) Post on your own Facebook, Instgram, Twitter, and other Social Media accounts

5) Contact your local Animal Shelter and let them know you found a pet; you can discuss with them if it’s best you bring the pet to them or keep it at your home until the owner is found. You can google COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL +ZIP CODE to find your closest one. IE: COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL 94598.

ADOPT ME: Meet “MAX”

Max was surrendered to us in late 2014 when his humans could no longer care for him. He’s a gorgeous tabby, 2008 model, neutered and about 11lbs. Max came to us with a urethral obstruction which means he needs to be on a special diet (wet food). Max is loving, sweet, gentle, kind, and LOVES humans. He doesn’t have the same feelings for animals, but we feel that if he were to be slowly integrated into a household, he would do well with others in the long run. Max is a gentle and shy soul and unfortunately the noises and smells here at EVH can be a bit overwhelming.

Max’s ideal home would be a quiet place, with no other pets. We think he would do great with someone enjoying their golden years and looking for a low maintenance furry friend.

If you are interested in meeting and possibly giving Max a happy life full of belly rubs and cuddles, please email ACSUTU@ENCINAVET.COM

thank you to Barbara of Share the Joy Photography (FACEBOOK / WEBSITE) for volunteering her time for Max

Fear Free Veterinary Visits for Cats and Dogs

Encina Veterinary Hospital is committed to providing the very best customer service, and that includes keeping your pet cool, calm, and fear free, with each visit to us.

We’ve put together some tips to help you reduce the fear/stress your pet may have with visiting us:

*CATS:

  • Leave their carrier out in plain sight (for them to see and explore) a few days before the appointment with us; this will help the pet understand the carrier is okay, not necessarily associated with the veterinarian, and give them a chance to get use to it (extra tip: sometimes a dirty/worn shirt by you in the carrier can help keep the pet feeling safe in the carrier when in use).
  • You can also purchase FELIWAY (pheromones that help encourage pets to stay calm via plug in diffuser or spray), and use them at home before the appointment. (extra tip: you can spray FELIWAY on a towel or blanket, put it in the carrier, and this may help keep your cat calm while traveling in the carrier).
  • Bring a blanket or towel to cover the carrier with to help keep it dark for the pet and not overwhelm them with sights while driving in the car or waiting in the waiting room
  • A car ride with soothing, calm, music may also help keep your pet calm while traveling
  • If you don’t feel comfortable waiting in the lobby with your cat, give us a call when you arrive in the parking lot and we can check you in over the phone. When it’s time to get you in a room, the Doctor’s Assistant will come outside and let you know we’re ready.
  • We try to use exam rooms 6 and 7 primarily for cats as it’s farther away from the chaos of our pharmacy area and more removed from the lobby. Don’t hesitate to request one of these two rooms!

    ** SMALL DOG

  • Leave their carrier/leash out in plain sight (for them to see and explore) a few days before the appointment with us; this will help the pet understand the carrier/leash is okay, not necessarily associated with the veterinarian, and give them a chance to get use to it (extra tip: sometimes a dirty/worn shirt by you in the carrier can help keep the pet feeling safe in the carrier when in use).
  • You can also purchase ADAPIL (pheromones that help encourage pets to stay calm via plug in diffuser, collar, or spray), and use them at home before the appointment. (extra tip: you can spray ADAPIL on a towel or blanket, put it in the carrier, and this may help keep your pet calm while traveling in the carrier).
  • Bring a blanket or towel to cover the carrier with to help keep it dark for the pet and not overwhelm them with sights while driving in the car or waiting in the waiting room
  • A car ride with soothing, calm, music may also help keep your pet calm while traveling
  • If you don’t feel comfortable waiting in the lobby with your pup, give us a call when you arrive in the parking lot and we can check you in over the phone. When it’s time to get you in a room, the Doctor’s Assistant will come outside and let you know we’re ready.
  • You may choose to limit food intake before the appointment with us to help increase the effectiveness of treats while here with us. If you’re pup has some favorite treats, don’t hesitate to bring some with you!

    ** LARGE DOG

  • Leave their leash out in plain sight (for them to see and explore) a few days before the appointment with us; this will help the pet understand the leash is okay, not necessarily associated with the veterinarian, and give them a chance to get use to it (extra tip: sometimes a dirty/worn shirt/towel/blanket by you in the car can help keep the pet feeling safe due to familiar smells).
  • You can also purchase ADAPIL (pheromones that help encourage pets to stay calm via plug in diffuser, collar, or spray), and use them at home before the appointment. (extra tip: you can spray ADAPIL on a used/worn towel/blanket/shirt, and place this in the back of your car where your pup stays while you’re driving).
  • A car ride with soothing, calm, music may also help keep your pet calm while traveling
  • If you don’t feel comfortable waiting in the lobby with your pup, give us a call when you arrive in the parking lot and we can check you in over the phone. When it’s time to get you in a room, the Doctor’s Assistant will come outside and let you know we’re ready.
  • You may choose to limit food intake before the appointment with us to help increase the effectiveness of treats while here with us. If you’re pup has some favorite treats, don’t hesitate to bring some with you!

    If you have any questions or concerns – give us a call. We’re committed to providing you with the best care possible – including before you walk through our doors.

    We are the only 24 hour, 7 days a week veterinary emergency hospital in Walnut Creek, California: 925 937 5000

  • The Flea Life Cycle

    We all shudder at the thought of having a flea problem in our home. A basic knowledge of the flea life cycle helps us understand why year-round flea prevention is important to help keep them at bay. Although many generally think of fleas as a problem on the animal, you will see that the majority of the fleas are present in the environment and they wait to hatch until the environmental conditions suit them.

    The different stages of flea development
    Eggs- Although they are laid on the host dog or cat, they fall off and hatch in the environment. They prefer high humidity and warm temperatures.
    Larvae- They hatch in the environment and feed off of flea dirt (excrement). They molt several times before forming a cocoon for pupating.
    Pupae- This is the dormant stage for the flea, where they can reside in the environment and wait for the right time to emerge when the conditions (temperature, humidity) are right. They are very difficult to kill in this stage.
    Unfed adult flea- A mature flea that is seeking a new host. It can live for months without feeding but is actively seeking a host.
    Fed adult flea- This flea can now reproduce and begins to produce eggs within 1-2 days of feeding. An adult female flea can lay up to 40 eggs per day and live for 4 to 6 weeks. A single flea can bite your pet every 5 minutes, meaning that even a single flea can cause severe itchiness and discomfort for a pet that has a flea allergy.

    Why does the life cycle matter?
    • The flea spends the majority of its life in the environment, which means you may not see fleas on your pet but there may be a significant flea problem. Veterinarians often look for telltale signs of fleas on a pet (flea dirt, rashes on the rear end or groin area) because directly visualizing a live flea is uncommon unless there is a heavy flea load.
    • Flea eggs and larvae often develop in dark, humid areas such as under furniture or in between cushions, in carpet, in between hardwood floor boards, and outside under brush piles and bushes. This means that successfully treating the environment may be very difficult because the common sprays and “bug bombs” do not reach the areas where the immature stages of the flea are living. Instead of treating the environment, we often focus on consistently using a monthly flea product on all animals in the household for several months so that the fleas in the environment are killed as they mature and jump on the pet to take a meal. It may also help to vacuum and dispose of the vacuum bags and wash bedding or pillows in hot water. For severe infestations it may be best to consult with a professional pest control company.

    Approach to flea control
    • Use a flea product year round on all animals in the household. This prevents a flea infestation from setting up in your home over the winter and maturing in spring when the temperatures rise.
    • There are many options for flea preventatives that can be tailored to your pets’ lifestyle and preferences. Consult with your veterinarian for the best product for you and your pet.

    Marissa Woodall, DVM

    Why Does My Pet Need a Rectal Exam?

    We’ve all been there before. Bella comes to the vet for a regular checkup or maybe she has another pesky ear infection. Bella is very excited to come and get treats and attention. She is then disappointed to find that she must tolerate a full physical exam. As the friendly veterinarian is performing the part of the exam we usually save for last, you and Bella both wonder if it is really necessary to perform a rectal exam. After all, you are just there for an ear infection! I am here to tell you that it is absolutely necessary and you are not getting your money’s worth out of the physical exam if a rectal is not performed.

    – The first thing a veterinarian evaluates on a rectal exam
    is the quality of the stool. An owner may describe that there is blood in the stool but a veterinarian will be able to determine if it is actual blood or maybe just red dye from something the pet ingested.
    For better or for worse, veterinarians have a lot of experience looking at poop and can learn a lot about your pet’s health by examining it.

    – Another thing we evaluate is the anal glands. We can detect
    and relieve an anal gland obstruction or treat an abscess. We can also find a tumor of the anal glands or colon early, before your pet shows any signs, which allows for the best outcome in treating these tumors.

    – A rectal exam allows us to feel lymph nodes inside the
    abdomen (the sublumbar lymph nodes) and helps us diagnose cancers and inflammation or infection that can cause these lymph nodes to enlarge.

    – A rectal exam is a must for a pet that has sustained a
    trauma such as getting hit by a car because it allows us to feel for pelvic fractures. We can also feel certain bony tumors.

    – In male dogs, a rectal exam involves feeling the prostate
    for enlargement or pain which may be signs of infection or cancer.

    – We can feel the urethra in female dogs via a rectal exam.
    This allows us to detect any abnormal thickening or stones lodged in the urethra. Sometimes stones are lodged in a position that overlaps with the pelvis on x-rays and a rectal exam is the easiest way to find them.

    – Part of assessing a dog’s neurologic status is checking the anal tone of the dog. Decreased anal tone can be a sign of disease in the spinal cord.

    As you can see, while rectal exams aren’t a veterinarian or a pet’s favorite past time, they are vital for assessing the health of your dog and diagnosing disease early in its course.

    Alina Kelman, DVM

    Why Does My Pet Scoot?

    A pet “scooting” or dragging its hind end on the floor, grass, or nice carpet is a common sight, especially in smaller overweight pets (but larger dogs can be affected too!). Both dogs and cats can show signs of scooting their behind on the floor. Most of the time it means there is an issue with their anal sacs. Anal sacs that get impacted or infected can cause itching, bad odor, pain or discharge. Other signs of an anal sac issue may include chewing or licking the area, swelling around the anus or difficulty defecating. There are other possible causes of scooting such as peri-anal tumors, irritation from diarrhea, worms or matted hair. It is important if you see signs of scooting to see a veterinarian to rule out these other possible causes.

    What are anal sacs?
    The anal sacs collect oily secretions from the glandular tissue that lines the sacs. If the anus was a clock viewed from behind the anal sacs sit at 8 pm and 4 pm between the muscles of the anus. The oily secretions are used for “marking” or communication between other cats or dogs. Usually a normal bowel movement is sufficient enough to express the anal sacs. If a pet is having loose stool or diarrhea they may not be adequately expressed.

    What should I do if I see my pet scooting?
    The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out the various causes. If left untreated minor inflammation of the anal sacs could turn into infection, abscessation or rupture. This can be an extremely painful condition for your pet.

    What are some treatment options?
    Treatment options for anal sac issues depend on the cause (impaction, infection, abscess, tumor). Treatment can range from simply expressing the anal sacs to lancing or flushing under general anesthesia. Other options include antibiotics to treat infection, pain medications, warm compressing or diet change (increasing fiber). Please speak to your veterinarian about specific treatment for your pet’s condition.

    How are the anal sacs emptied?
    Anal sacs are emptied by applying compression to the anal sacs and extruding the oily material. Normal anal sacs do NOT need to be expressed manually and it is not recommended unless indicated by your vet. If anal sac expression does need to be performed there are a couple ways. This can be done outside the anus by gently pushing up on the anal sacs towards the anus. It can also be done by wearing a latex glove and inserting your finger into the anus using your thumb and forefinger to express the contents. It is important to have safe proper restraint while performing either of these techniques. For pets with recurring problems they may need their anal glands expressed frequently. It is best to have your veterinarian evaluate your pet and show you proper safe restraint and technique before trying this at home.

    My pet keeps scooting!
    If your pet is having recurrent problems please see your veterinarian! They will want to rule out all the possible causes including anal sac tumors. If frequent anal sac expression is not doing the trick surgery to remove the anal sacs can be performed. Your veterinarian will have other options for long term management.

    Any questions, concerns or if your pet is ill please see your veterinarian! This blog post is meant for informational purposes only.

    Lisa Shapiro, DVM