Mountainview Small Animal Hospital Blog


In order to spend time and celebrate with our families we will be closed the following Holidays (dates) for 2017:
Easter Sunday– April 16th
Memorial Day–May 29th
Independence Day– July 4th
Labor Day–September 4th
Thanksgiving–November 23rd
Christmas Eve–December 24th
Christmas Day– December 25th
New Year’s Eve–December 31st
New Year’s Day– January 1st 2018

Be assured that there will be staff on premises as usual for boarded or hospitalized patients, and they will be well taken care of even though we will not be open to the public.

posted in:  NOTICES


See Harvey. Harvey likes to show the world his sparkling clean chompers and his pet parents are thrilled about his super fresh breath. Harvey wants all pets to be as proud of their smile and be as healthy as he is. Be like Harvey. Harvey Abell

Bad breath and icky looking teeth are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dental disease. Plaque covered, infected teeth can shower the bloodstream with harmful bacteria that can wreak havoc on organ systems which could lead to premature heart disease, kidney disease and other systemic disease processes that might otherwise have been prevented. This makes Harvey sad.

During the month of February, veterinary hospitals all over the nation strive to spread the word and help pet parents keep their pets in the best health possible by recommending a thorough oral exam and if needed, a dental cleaning that includes ultrasonic scaling of the teeth, periodontal disease assessment via gingival probing and finally, enamel polishing to keep the tooth surface smooth and discourage further plaque build up. Spreading the word about pet dental health makes Harvey happy.

Let’s keep Harvey smiling and get your pet’s dental exam right away–and if a cleaning is recommended, schedule during the month of February and get 15% OFF the cost of the dental package! Call soon, we book up FAST!

For more information see our Dental Services page.

posted in:  DENTAL HEALTH

Update on Samantha

We received an update, complete with Christmas photos, from Samantha’s new family and we learned she is doing very well; and, as illustrated in the photo, has become quite close with her new fur-brother “Indio”. She also enjoys spending time (sharing the couch) with her cat-cousin “Louie”. We could not have hoped for a more perfect home for this lucky puppy and are looking forward to many more updates from her wonderful new forever family.



“Shalunya” is Russian for minx or naughty. “Shalunya” is the pup Katie (our receptionist) fell in love with.

In August 2016, she was brought in at about 8 weeks old by Animal Friends of the Valley with a broken and displaced lower jaw where the bone had become horribly infected. Her mouth was full of pus and it was a pretty nasty mess in there. She had great difficulty eating so gruel was made so she could lap it up when she wasn’t being hand fed. The smell from the infection was an entity all its own – if it got on your scrubs no one would come near you for the rest of the day. Staff members were gowned up like Haz Mat workers when they handled the puppy. But none of that mattered to Katie. Katie would bring in extra scrubs in order to be able to hold the puppy and love on her despite her icky mouth. She and the puppy started to bond.

After a thorough exam of the mouth and after carefully considering the bone infection, Dr. Hempel determined, “I can help this puppy…..” So he did.

After two weeks on antibiotics to get the raging infection under control and (during that same time period) after the shelter released her to us permanently, she was taken to surgery where the jaw was re-aligned, wired together, and then a surgical molding compound was applied to the teeth to act as a stabilizer while the jaw healed. Healing was a long process, but she was a trooper-in fact she didn’t seem to realize there was anything wrong with her.
Realizing the puppy’s recuperation would be a lengthy one , Katie did not want her to miss out on learning good puppy manners, so she began working with her; teaching her basic commands and later some fun tricks like “shake”, “roll over” and “play dead”. She named her “Shalunya” due to her playful nature and propensity to be a bit of a rascal. On many occasions Katie took the puppy home to socialize with her bigger dog, and her Maine Coon cat. The cat seemed unimpressed by the pup, and barely reacted to her presence; but her big German Shepherd was afraid of the new puppy and would hide in the other room when Shalunya was in the house—dashing Katie’s hopes of being able to keep the puppy herself.

Once Shalunya was healed up and it became evident that she would be able to lead a normal life with little to no long term ill effects, Dr. Hempel gave the okay to find her a forever home.

Her forever family came in one day and saw her picture at the front desk and asked to meet her. Katie brought her up and the puppy immediately gravitated to the family’s teenage daughter. A few days later, the entire family came in to get to know Shalunya and decided they wanted her as a permanent member of their family. Since Shalunya had a couple more weeks of medications to finish, Dr Hempel spayed her and she was given the last of her vaccine series. While waiting for their new puppy to be released from care, her new family would come in twice a week to visit and play with her.

Finally, three anesthetics, four months and many medications later, this lucky pup’s big day came, and on December 1st Shalunya, whose new name is now “Samantha” (which is SO much easier to pronounce!) went home to her new family.

Please visit our Facebook page for more photos from this sweet puppy’s story:


“Newton’s Story”



The local shelter we work with, Animal Friends of the Valley, brought this pup in for evaluation. He had been attacked by a much larger animal and had terrible wounds all over his tiny body, including a deep wound to the abdominal cavity. Despite his grave injuries, this little guy still had the sweetest disposition and Dr Hempel couldn’t bear knowing he might be put to sleep due to the extent of his wounds–so he asked permission from the shelter to proceed with the risky surgery. Permission was granted and the little dude pulled through the surgery and his wounds healed up after lengthy treatment and hospitalization.
After the allotted shelter waiting time, he was released to our permanent custody for re-homing.
He was so tiny, none of the baby T-shirts fit him, so he had his outfits fashioned out of tube socks, cut to fit. In this photo he is showing his flair for fashion, modeling a men’s brown dress sock. His affinity for sock wear earned him the temporary nick-name “Tube Sock Steve”, but we know his forever home will give him a name that fits his personality.
The best part of this story is how Dr Hempel’s family fell in love with him as much as the staff did, and after some ‘convincing’ (by his wife, daughter and granddaughter) Dr Hempel agreed to add this little fella to the Hempel household where he will be allowed to cuddle with his new best friend Tessa, whom he has grown to love.
After getting to know him they decided to call him “Newton” (“Newt” for short). When “Newt” is not losing at tug-of-war with “Eddie”- who currently outweighs him by about 15 lbs, he is spending quiet, cuddle time with his favorite person Tessa, who exclaimed when “Newt” was brought home for good,”this is the best day of my life!”
I bet “Newt” thought the same thing.


Our Journey Into Paperless-ness

dog paperwork

It’s really (finally) happening!
For those of you who have been in the office in the last 6 months, you may have already been subjected to the trials and tribulations of our on-going march towards being a paperless practice. For that, we salute you. Thank you all, for your extraordinary patience while we convert from utilizing those giant, paper-packed medical charts to the computer based files. “I am really going to miss searching for those misplaced, over-stuffed, 15 pound charts”, said NO ONE, EVER.
Over our six month journey to be good Earthlings, we’ve set up Medical Exams, Pet Report Cards, Dental Charts and ‘Petly’ Prescription Requests (just to name a few) in our Cornerstone Program. However, we still have a few more processes to work out before our proposed “Kick-the-Charts-to-the-Curb” launch date of January 1st 2016. Even then, we know there will still be a de-bugging period before we can become the seamless medical note taking, well-oiled data entering machine, that we aspire to be.
In advance, we would like to thank you again for your patience while we continue to streamline the process. In the end we will be better able to serve you with easily accessible medical records (through Petly for our clients and via computer files for us), clearly written Dr’s notes (yay! no more Doctor’s handwriting!), online RX requests via Petly and so much more.
Until January 1st, we will continue to obtain paper cuts (the big ones that can only be inflicted by those super thick manila charts, that hurt REALLY bad, especially when you get alcohol in them), to have over flowing charts explode on us, and generally continue to curse their existence. After that, we will only have to worry about the computers going down…..
Wait…WAIT…. WHAT?!

posted in:  IN THE NEWS


This cannot be stressed enough….when you have a (life threatening) pet emergency:
PLEASE-MAKE SURE YOU CALL THE FACILITY YOU ARE GOING TO…either before, or, if able, as you are headed over. Do not waste one minute of precious time driving to a hospital, where there may, or may not, be a vet available to immediately treat your pet. Also, a head’s up to the vet regarding what the emergency is, will allow them to prepare ahead of time and render the best care, in the fastest time possible.
We realize that in an emergency, it is difficult to keep a cool head and think about this type of thing, but it may make the difference between saving your pet, or not.
Quick tips:
**Keep your regular vet’s and the nearest 24 hour emergency facility’s phone number on your refrigerator at home and in your wallet or store them in your phone.
**Learn where the nearest 24 hour emergency facility is located BEFORE you need them. (We have California Veterinary Specialists in Murrieta open 24/7 as well as The Emergency Pet Clinic in Temecula which is open nights and weekends)
**Whenever possible, have someone go with you to the vet during an emergency. They can be on the phone calling ahead, or driving for you while you call.

posted in:  Pet Wellness

PET NUTRITION–Let’s talk about FOOD!

dog with bowl
Hello again everyone! Let’s talk about FOOD!
Nutrition is a topic that is close to my heart, and anyone who has seen me for an exam, will have noticed that I ask many questions regarding their pet’s diet. Most people have heard the famous saying “You are what you eat” and in many ways this statement is true. One of the most common problems that we see pets for is ear and skin infections. Very often, the cause of these infections is an allergy. Typically, pets can be allergic to food, environmental exposures, and parasites. How food plays a role, is that if a pet has an allergy to something they are eating, the body will cause inflammation, which then leads to overgrowth of yeast and bacteria. This occurs most frequently in the ears, between the toes, and armpits, leading to ear infections, licking and chewing of the paws, or skin rashes.

The reason for my food obsession is because it’s one of the main things we have control over. We have minimal control over the environment around us, and fleas, in particular, are an easy fix with monthly flea control. (that topic will be covered at a later date) There are many components of food that can be the causative agent. The most common, is the protein source, soon followed by the carbohydrate. Unfortunately, the massive rush towards “Grain Free” foods has led to a huge increase in allergies to potato and peas. Honestly, unless you are feeding a food that has a history of being very poor quality, even if it’s a food I don’t particularly like, if your pet does not have a history of allergy issues I’m not going to recommend a major change. The old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” does in fact, apply to this topic.

Also, just like in people, certain foods tend to increase insulin resistance, general inflammation, and weight gain. Pets have similar responses to food and in some instances, certain diseases can be partially or even completely managed with diet changes.

When I do recommend a change, there are certain brands that I tend to favor, but again, it is a case by case basis. Also, food isn’t the only thing that’s important. You can buy the best food in the world, but still have problems because the treats haven’t been addressed too. Food counts as anything that crosses your pet’s lips and this sometimes includes unplanned items outside, off the kitchen table, or presents from the baby’s high chair. In general, I recommend avoiding any edible chews like Rawhides, pig ears, dental sticks, greenies, and of course, no jerky treats of any kind. Ideally, I would recommend no treats, but if this isn’t an option, we can discuss during the exam what will work for your particular pet’s lifestyle. I do recommend Nylabones of the right size and shape for your pet, and if there is no known venison allergy, Antlers are great chewing alternatives. The most important thing to remember is to get the right size for your pet. I recommend at least 2 times the length of the pet’s muzzle, and 50% of the diameter of the muzzle to decrease the risk of biting off pieces, choking or swallowing the bones.

So please, when you come see me at Mountainview, bear with my numerous food questions because I feel that it warrants attention, and could be involved with whatever symptoms your pet may be showing that elicited the office visit.

When it comes to food, I can talk forever, so I figure I’ve blogged enough on this. Any particular questions, you know where to find me. Thanks again for reading.

posted in:  NUTRITION


Since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration has received over 3600 reports of dog and cat illnesses, including 580 deaths, related to the consumption of jerky treats. The FDA has not recalled these products as of yet, due to the fact that the definitive cause or potential toxin has not been identified.

Symptoms may occur within a few hours or up to several days after ingesting the treats. These symptoms can include depression, anorexia, vomiting and diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, tremors and convulsions. In addition, some pets may exhibit skin irritations such as hives or a general rash and in severe cases, kidney failure has been reported. If your pet is exhibiting any of the above signs after consuming these types of treats, please call us to schedule an exam as soon as possible.

In general, we at Mountainview recommend avoiding any and all Jerky Treat type products regardless of where they are manufactured.
For more information, please click on this link for the FDA consumer fact sheet


posted in:  ILLNESSES


dog-looking-at-turkey PANCREATITIS AND THE HOLIDAYS:
Being in the midst of the holiday season, we thought it prudent to bring up the most common disease we see during this time: PANCREATITIS.
This is a disease in which the pancreas (the digestive enzyme organ of the body) becomes inflamed due to inappropriate food or treat consumption or a pet getting into the trash and helping themselves to leftovers. The most common history we hear from clients on a pancreatitis patient is: we gave them table food, or some scraps off our plate, or they got into the trash, etc. All of these can cause anywhere from a mild upset stomach, to acute vomiting and bloody diarrhea with severe gastroenteritis. The easiest way to prevent this from occurring is not feeding people food of any kind and encourage guests to refrain from doing so as well. Obviously, if the pet is persistent enough, some may be able to wheedle a bite of food here and there or get into the trash when no one is looking, even if the trash cans are covered. If that happens and your pet seems out of sorts, the most common symptoms to be on the lookout for are depression, anorexia and vomiting (often with bile) and diarrhea. If your pet seems only mildly ill or “off”, it would still be best to have him checked- just to be on the safe side. This is not a condition one wants to wait on.
The standard treatment is to run bloodwork to verify if the pancreas is inflamed and if so, hospitalize with IV fluids, antibiotics, anti-nausea medication, and once the vomiting stops, a bland diet which will allow the pancreas to heal. Pancreatitis often has a good prognosis if you catch and treat early and once the pancreas has had a chance to heal, there is usually no long term effects.
Occasionally, some pets may have a chronic pancreatitis that lasts a long time, but symptoms may be sporadic. This disease is more difficult to treat and can sometimes lead to loss of pancreatic function later on in life, like diabetes or pancreatic insufficiency. Prevention is still the best treatment, so if you can avoid feeding your dogs people food, the risk is low for pancreatitis. However, some breeds are more predisposed to this disease, like small breeds like Maltese, Yorkies, Dachshunds, also Schnauzers and Shelties have a higher risk of this disease. Cats can also develop this disease, but it is less common and is more likely associated with liver inflammation also. Cats must be treated more aggressively as well.
I hope this answers some questions, and also helps prevent some dogs from getting pancreatitis.

posted in:  ILLNESSES


Free vaccines for life programFree Vaccines For Life Program

This animal hospital was a great find! I was referred here by a local animal control officer. Gave the place a try and now I’m staying put. Great staff, great doctor. Thank you so much!
— Kevin S.