SERVICES
ANESTHESIA

Anesthesia is a temporary state of altered consciousness to allow for analgesia (pain relief), amnesia (loss of memory), and restraint (extreme muscle relaxation or paralysis). These are necessary to perform various medical, dental, surgical, and imaging procedures safely and comfortably on your pet.

What will my pet experience if he/she needs anesthesia?
At Cambria Animal Medical Center every animal has an individualized anesthetic plan. Your pet’s age, breed, medical history, and current health status are taken into consideration when choosing the appropriate combination of anesthetic drugs, monitoring, and pre-anesthetic evaluation tools. Dr. Suzy or Dr. Meusel will perform a complete physical exam, discuss your pet’s history with you, and run any pre-operative labwork, x-rays, or other diagnostics before your pet’s procedure is scheduled. In addition, every pet is examined again by the doctor on the morning of his/her procedure to be sure that the anesthetic choices are made based on your pet’s current condition. Every pet who is under general anesthesia has an intravenous catheter placed and is administered IV fluids; this helps maintain proper your pet’s blood pressure and also helps your pet recover from the anesthesia as quickly as possible Additionally, we use advanced anesthetic monitoring equipment which continuously monitors your ‘pet’s vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, EKG, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure, and these vital signs are watched closely by your pet’s veterinarian and veterinary technician throughout his or her procedure.

What are the different types of anesthesia?
At CAMC, we practice “balanced anesthesia,” which involves using a combination of several types of anesthesia in order to maximize your pet’s safety and comfort and to minimize the unwanted side effects of any one drug.

Preemptive analgesia and sedation, often termed a “pre-med,” is a combination of pain medicine and sedation to control pain and anxiety before the sensation of pain is produced. This also allows us to use smaller doses of additional drugs in subsequent steps to minimize the side effects of general anesthesia

Local anesthesia is used to block the sensation of pain in one particular area of the body. This is commonly used in areas of skin for small biopsies or in the mouth when dental extractions are necessary.

General anesthesia is when the patient is unconscious and nerve transmission is inhibited in the brain so that no pain can be perceived anywhere in the body.

What are the side effects of these drugs?
Our team monitors patients closely to address altered respiratory and cardiovascular function right away before they become problematic. Most animals, even geriatric patients, tolerate anesthesia and surgery without complications, but our team of trained staff is able to quickly recognize adverse signs and correct them appropriately.

What is the recovery process?
A team member will call you as soon as possible to update you on the recovery process and schedule an afternoon appointment to go over individualized at-home recovery instructions with you. Every pet recovers in a unique way from anesthesia. Some animals will be fully alert when it is time to go home after a procedure, while others may feel groggy or tired for a few days after aneshtesia. There are a variety of factors influencing the type of recovery, and we will do our best to educate you on what specifically you can expect during the recovery process for your pet.

CONSULTATION

In addition to offering the services of mobile, board-certified veterinary surgeons, we work closely with experts in other specialty fields, including ophthalmology, radiology, oncology, and internal medicine. The ability for Dr. Suzy and Dr. Meusel to easily consult with these board-certified veterinarians means that we can always access to specialists’ opinions and recommendations, if your pet should develop a complex health problem.

RADIOLOGY & ULTRASOUND

We use a digital radiograph machine (x-ray) in order to gather more information about problems that may be occurring in your pet’s chest, abdomen, or musculoskeletal system. In most cases, x-rays of your pet can be taken in just a few minutes (while you wait) without anesthesia or sedation. Dr. Suzy and Dr. Meusel are experienced in the interpretation of x-rays and, for more complicated cases, we can digitally send your pet’s x-rays to a board certified veterinary radiologist and can receive his or her second opinion within a matter of hours.

We also have a separate digital dental x-ray machine that is used specifically for taking x-rays of the teeth and to identify dental problems under then gum line. At CAMC, all pets having a dental treatment performed will have full-mouth dental x-rays taken in order to ensure that no tooth problems are missed and that your pet’s mouth is as healthy and comfortable as possible.

We use an ultrasound machine (similar to that which is used on pregnant women) is used to gather more information about your pet’s abdominal organs and other soft tissues. Sometimes we will refer patients to our local radiologist Dr. Andrew Jones at Central Vet Imaging in Grover Beach for detailed abdominal ultrasounds, ultrasound guided biopsies, and echocardiograms (ultrasound of the heart).

LABORATORY SERVICES

Our state-of-the-art, in-house laboratory testing equipment provides immediate results for critical and intensive care patients, allowing us to quickly diagnose your pet so that we can begin appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

For less urgent or more detailed testing, Cambria Animal Medical Center also uses the services of an offsite, veterinary-specific reference laboratory called Antech Diagnostics. Antech offers hundreds of specific tests as well as a panel of board-certified veterinary specialists to help us appropriately diagnose and treat your pet.

VACCINATION SERVICES

Pets today can are living longer, healthier lives than ever before, in part because of vaccines that help protect them from deadly infectious diseases. Over the years, vaccines that protect your pet from dangerous diseases, such as Rabies and Parvovirus, have saved so many pets’ lives and virtually eliminated some fatal diseases that were once common. Although vaccine programs have been highly successful, there are still many infectious diseases that pose significant health threats to dogs and cats that are unvaccinated, so it is important to keeping your pet up-to-date on the vaccinations that he or she needs.

At CAMC, we realize that there is not a “one size fits all” approach to vaccination programs. Our goal is to keep your pet protected against diseases that pose a risk to him or her, without giving your pet unnecessary vaccines. Together with you, Dr. Suzy and Dr. Meusel will tailor a vaccine plan specifically to your individual pet’s needs, based on his or her age, previous vaccine history, lifestyle, and travel.

We have also carefully chosen the vaccines that we administer to your pet, in order to provide your pet with the safest, most comfortable choices. We offer the full line of Boehringer Ingelheim ULTRA vaccines, which are the first and only 0.5 mL canine and feline vaccines. These vaccines use 50% less volume than other vaccines to deliver a more comfortable vaccine experience and results in significantly less vaccine volume over your pet’s lifetime. For cats, we use the Merial Feline Purevax Rabies vaccine, which delivers a robust and effective immune response without the use of adjuvants, thereby greatly reducing the risk of injection site pain, injection reactions, and chronic inflammation that can lead to more serious health problems. For dogs, we offer the oral form of the Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine, eliminating the need to give another injection or an uncomfortable nasal spray.

Again, our goal at CAMC is to partner with you to determine the best vaccine strategy to keep your pet protected and healthy, and we are always happy to discuss our recommendations with you in more detail.

PARASITE PREVENTION

Not only are fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms a nuisance to your pet, these parasites can cause serious illness and even death in pets. For example, ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and Bartonella – the bacteria that causes “cat-scratch fever” in humans. Another type of parasite, called a heartworm, is transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworms live in your pet’s lungs and heart, and if heartworm disease is left undiagnosed or untreated, it is usually fatal. Intestinal parasites, like roundworms and hookworms, also threaten pets and are even transmissible to humans.

You may not always be able to tell if your pet has parasites. Fleas can hide under your pet’s fur, and some ticks are very tiny (only the size of a pinhead), so they are very difficult to find. Intestinal parasites like roundworms can cause diarrhea and other problems, but many infected pets don’t show any signs of illness at all.

Veterinary examinations and parasite testing are important ways to protect your pet’s health. Let our knowledgeable staff provide you with a comprehensive parasite control program. We can examine your pet for physical evidence of parasites, recommend a schedule for parasite testing, discuss what signs of parasites you can look for at home, review ways to control parasites in and around your home, discuss treatment options if your pet has parasites, and recommend ways to control and prevent parasites in the future.

Parasites are not just a nuisance. They can carry serious diseases that affect your pet’s overall health and longevity.

PHARMACY

When you go to see a human doctor, you are often given a written prescription for medication which you then take to an outside pharmacy. At CAMC, we can save you that step. We have a fully-stocked pharmacy and can fill any prescriptions Dr. Suzy or Dr. Meusel prescribe your pet at the time of your visit.  We can also refill medications within 24 hours with doctor approval.

HOSPICE AND EUTHANASIA SERVICES

Are you having problems caring for a terminally ill pet at home? Does your pet have a medical condition that is painful or causing poor quality of life? Are you afraid that your sick or elderly pet is suffering?

Our staff of compassionate, caring professionals can help you through this painful experience. We offer hospice services and will work with you to ensure your pet’s comfort and dignity during his or her last days and final moments. Do you have special requests? Do you have questions about care of your pet’s remains? We can help you with these concerns and will make every effort to accommodate your wishes at this very difficult time.

Deciding when your pet may need hospice care or euthanasia is a very personal and private decision, but that doesn’t mean you have to make this difficult choice on your own. Our hospice and humane euthanasia services are conducted with respect, compassion, and care. Before you struggle through one more day with a sick, elderly, or terminally ill pet that is suffering, call us to learn how we can help.

PAIN MANAGEMENT

What if you couldn’t tell your doctor that you were in pain? Animals suffer from pain just like we do. Pain comes in many forms: surgical pain, arthritic pain, and pain from other chronic diseases, such as cancer, just to name a few. Acute pain is usually obvious and distressing, but chronic pain can be subtle, and masked as “getting old” or “slowing down.”

How can we recognize chronic pain in our pets? Often times, there are subtle changes to your pet’s mobility and/or behavior that can clue us in to the fact that he or she might be hurting. Any limping suggests discomfort, as can a reluctance to walk on slippery surfaces, hesitation to jump up or down off of furniture or in and out of the car, attempting to stand with the front legs first, and abnormal or uneven wearing of the nails. Sometimes there are subtle behavioral changes that indicate pain, such as sudden aggression towards other pets or people in the household, an aversion to being brushed, disruption in sleep patterns, a decrease in appetite, or the development of new house-training issues.

At CAMC, we take pain seriously. We will ask you questions about changes you might be noticing in your pet’s mobility and general behavior and will use this information in conjuction with the information we gather by performing a thorough physical exam of your pet’s joints, spine, muscles, and abdomen. If we determine that your pet is sore or uncomfortable, we offer a personalized, multi-modal approach to pain management that includes weight management, dietary supplements, and a variety of oral and/or injectable pain medications, based on your pet’s individual needs.

PUPPY & KITTEN CARE

Our puppy and kitten wellness program includes a series of comprehensive examinations, vaccinations, and parasite control and prevention.

During your puppy or kitten’s first four months of life, we recommend check-ups every 3 to 4 weeks for routine physical examinations, vaccinations, and dewormings. These visits are also designed to provide you with an opportunity to discuss with Dr. Suzy or Dr. Meusel any questions or concerns about your new pet. The vets will also discuss important puppy and kitten topics with you, including acclimating your new pet to your home as well as feeding, potty training, proper socialization, spaying or neutering, and microchipping.

SENIOR CARE

Thanks to the advancements in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever. However with this increased lifespan comes an increase in the variety of age-related conditions and diseases your pet might develop, including osteoarthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, cancer and diabetes.

If you notice any of the following changes in your senior pet, please call us and let us know as soon as possible: changes in mobility (limping, difficulty going up and down stairs, reluctance to jump, etc); unexplained weight loss or weight gain; excessive thirst and/or urination; loss of appetite, diarrhea or vomiting, coughing, and/or behavioral changes.

At CAMC, we pay special attention to your senior pet and do everything we can to keep them as healthy and comfortable as possible. Because we realize that pets age at a faster rate than do humans, we recommend that even healthy senior dogs and cats (age 8+) visit us every six months for a complete physical exam, so that we are able to detect any developing problems sooner rather than later.

Your senior pet’s wellness exam will include a health consultation where we discuss with you your pet’s medical history and any changes you might be noticing at home, a complete physical examination including an oral exam and pain assessment, nutritional counseling, diagnostic tests (blood tests, x-rays, etc) if necessary, and a discussion of personalized vaccinations and parasite prevention recommendations for your pet.

SURGERY

CAMC is equipped to perform a wide range of surgeries, from spays and neuters to orthopedic surgeries to emergency exploratory procedures.

Dr. Suzy or Dr. Meusel will perform a comprehensive examination and pre-surgical assessment on the day of your pet’s surgery, including pre-anesthetic blood testing (if indicated) to evaluate vital organ functioning and overall health.

All surgical patients receive intravenous fluids to hydrate, maintain blood pressure, and support kidney health. We use industry-leading equipment to measure vital signs continuously during anesthesia. A highly trained and experienced veterinary technician monitors each patient throughout his or her surgery and recovery from anesthesia.

We manage pain with a multi-modal approach utilizing analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications. We use local and regional nerve blocks, epidural anesthesia, and dermal pain patches as needed. The majority of our surgical patients are discharged the same day with at-home pain medications for post-operative comfort and optimal healing. Additional hospitalization may be recommended for surgical patients who require continued pain medications, intravenous fluids, and skilled nursing care.

Dr. Suzy or Dr. Meusel will meet with you at the time of your pet’s discharge to discuss home care, feeding instructions, medications, and any further care that may be required. You will also receive a phone call the day after your pet’s surgery to make sure they are comfortable and feeling well. We know that caring for a pet after surgery can be stressful, and we are here to answer any questions you have and to support you until your pet has healed.

We also have close working relationship with a board-certified veterinary surgeon, Dr. Greg Marsoias, DVM, MS, Dipolmate ACVS. Dr. Marsolais provides mobile surgical services, so even if your pet is in need of a complex or advanced orthopedic or soft tissue surgery, we can offer Dr. Marsolais’ surgical expertise at our Cambria facility.

DENTAL CARE

Oral health is vital to your pet’s health and quality of life. Dental disease is a very common problem in pets and is mostly determined by a pet’s individual genetics; current statistics report that 75% of cats and dogs over the age of three have significant dental disease. At CAMC, we recognize how important oral health is to your pet, not only for their comfort but also for their general health; we perform thorough oral assessments during your pet’s annual or semi-annual wellness exams, and discuss with you an oral health plan that will keep your pets teeth and gums as healthy as possible for years to come.

Why is it important to have my pet under anesthesia for a dental cleaning?
Anesthesia-free, or “sedation” dentistry is not recommended and is more dangerous than general anesthesia for several reasons: First, in sedation dentistry, the trachea (windpipe) and lungs are not protected from the particles disrupted during the cleaning process. If breathed in, your pet can develop pneumonia from the bacteria in these particles. Second, sharp instruments are used to examine, clean, and treat problems in the mouth. It is vital that your pet be still during this process and not feel afraid or painful. Lastly, full-mouth dental x-rays are an essential component of your pet’s oral health assessment, and dental x-rays can only be taken when a pet under general anesthesia.

What is involved in a dental cleaning?
The first step is a thorough systematic exam. Even in the calmest pet, this cannot be properly done without general anesthesia. All teeth are checked with manual and instrument probing for cracks, wear, discoloration, and mobility. The gum tissue is also examined for evidence of infection, cancerous growths, benign growths, bleeding, and any pockets around each tooth. Next, the teeth are scaled above and below the gum line (supra-gingival and sub-gingival scaling) with an ultrasonic scaler and by hand. Scaling creates divots and rough patches on the tooth surface enamel. If left un-polished, plaque can develop quickly after a cleaning, so all teeth are polished. Sulcal lavage is then performed to rinse out any debris that could be caught under the gum line.

Why are dental x-rays important in every animal?
At CAMC, we take full-mouth digital dental x-rays on every pet receiving a dental cleaning treatment. This is because only half of the tooth is visible on the surface, and there is no way to examine the rest of the tooth or surrounding bone without taking full mouth x-rays. 50% of dental problems would be left unidentified and untreated without x-rays. Also, in severely diseased teeth and gums where extractions may be necessary, x-rays are vital in planning the surgical extraction process and ensuring that the entire root is removed. In some cases, tooth roots that are incompletely removed can lead to pain and infection. Even the most confident veterinary dentists double check the success of a tooth extraction with an x-ray.