A flea problem on your pet means a flea problem in your home. Understanding the flea life cycle and methods for its control can be a daunting task. We will gladly assist you in this process. We can provide you with safe, effective flea prevention and if necessary, flea treatment. See the flea article in the Pet Health Library of our site.

Your Veterinary Medical Center of Folsom veterinarian is best qualified to tell when it is time for your pet’s dental cleaning, but you can get a pretty good idea at home by looking in your pet’s mouth. You will know to call us if you see:

Build-up of hard, brown material on the teeth
Gums that are puffy or redder on the edge than the adjacent tissue
Loose or broken teeth
Bleeding, lumps, or sores in the mouth

Pets that have dental issues may be in constant pain, as well. Indicators of oral pain include refusal to eat; pawing at the face; excessive drooling; discharge or swelling around the face, nose, or eyes; and a reaction to mild pressure in the mouth area. A good oral exam will find any problems. Of course, contact us at once if you see any indication of pain or problems in your pet’s mouth.


Anesthesia is needed for your pet’s dental procedure in order to adequately clean every surface of every tooth, including under the gum line, and to evaluate the condition of each tooth to determine if an extraction or further tooth care is needed. Another benefit to having your pet anesthetized during the procedure is that we are able to do a thorough exam of the mouth, gums, tongue, and throat—this thorough exam would be virtually impossible to perform while your pet is awake. We recommend to run blood work before embarking on dental anesthesia. That way, any metabolic abnormalities will be picked up as part of the dental procedure.

We use a very safe gas anesthesia called isoflurane. Your pet breathes nearly 100% oxygen through a tube that goes in their trachea, which attaches to an anesthetic machine that mixes a tiny amount of the anesthetic with the oxygen. The tube also prevents any of the dirty water generated in the cleaning process from getting into your pet’s lungs.

Our procedures even take into account senior pets. We don’t feel that younger pets deserve less of a safety procedure than a senior pet. As a result, ALL pets that go through this relatively safe procedure get the attention of a dedicated Vet Assistant to monitoring the health of your pet during the entire procedure. Ask us about what else we do to ensure a better quality and service and mitigate the relatively low risks associated with anesthesia.


About “anesthesia-free” dentistry: As you can imagine, it is virtually impossible to properly clean and evaluate your pet’s teeth without anesthesia. Anesthesia-free dentistry in pets only removes the tarter that you, the pet owner, can easily see on the cheek side of the teeth. Removal of tarter and plaque from the inside of the teeth, in between the teeth, or below the gum line can’t be done. And, the teeth cannot be probed and evaluated well without anesthesia. As a pet owner, you are lulled into a false sense that your pet’s teeth have been adequately cleaned when they have not. This leads to further decay and infection below the gum line, in the bone, or in the tooth root resulting in tooth loss, discomfort, and disease.


Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.

Common signs of dental disease include:

Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
Bad breath
Excessive drooling
Changes in eating or chewing habits
Pawing at the face
Loose teeth

Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.

Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly enough, they can result in death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if infection in the mouth has spread.

Schedule your pet’s dental exam today! We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.

When we need to figure out what’s wrong with your pet, we routinely use x-rays to help identify the cause of the problem, rule out possible problems, or provide a list of possible causes. We may also use x-rays during a wellness exam to diagnose potential problems before they become serious.

X-rays provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). We use radiology alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools. Interpretation of radiographs requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian.

We are proud to offer digital radiology (x-rays that are captured digitally rather than on film). This state-of-the-art technology allows us to provide you with a quicker diagnosis for your pet. Plus, it uses less radiation than traditional x-rays.

To avoid a blurry image, pets need to remain completely still while an x-ray is taken. In some cases, we may need to sedate your pet or use short-acting general anesthesia.

If you have any questions about our radiology service or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Although heart problems are found more often in older pets, these conditions can affect pets at any age. Heart disease is usually a life-threatening condition, but early diagnosis and appropriate therapy can extend your pet’s life. If caught soon enough, some forms of heart disease can be cured.

Heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF), which occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood effectively. If an animal is suffering from CHF, fluid usually accumulates in and around the lungs and sometimes in the abdomen. Congenital heart disease (animals born with a heart problem), valvular heart disease (abnormalities of the heart valves), arrhythmias (rhythm disturbances), and heartworm disease can all lead to CHF.

Call us if your pet starts breathing rapidly or coughing, loses his or her appetite, tires easily, seems weak, or has trouble exercising. We can discover many heart problems during a physical exam. Additional tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), radiographs (x-rays), and ultrasounds, are usually needed to accurately identify the cause of the heart disease or failure.


Skin problems are common in dogs and cats and can be caused by hormonal disorders, allergies, infections, or parasites such as fleas and mites. These issues can be particularly difficult to treat and should be addressed promptly.

We can often diagnose a skin problem by simply examining your pet. Some dermatologic diseases or conditions do require additional diagnostic procedures to ensure a correct diagnosis. Depending on your pet’s symptoms and the results of our physical exam, we may run blood work or perform a urinalysis, skin scraping, or biopsies.

Contact us if you notice your dog or cat scratching excessively or if he or she develops any bare patches, scabs, scaling, redness, inflammation, lumps, or bumps.



Ultrasonography (also called ultrasound or sonography) is a noninvasive, pain-free procedure that uses sound waves to examine a pet’s internal organs and other structures inside the body. It can be used to evaluate the animal’s heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and bladder; to detect fluid, cysts, tumors, or abscesses; and to confirm pregnancy or monitor an ongoing pregnancy.

We may use this imaging technique in conjunction with radiography (x-rays) and other diagnostic methods to ensure a proper diagnosis. Interpretation of ultrasound images requires great skill on the part of the clinician.

The ultrasonographer applies gel to the surface of the body and then methodically moves a transducer (a small handheld tool) across the skin to record images of the area of interest. The gel helps the transducer slide more easily and create a more accurate visual image.

The transducer emits ultrasonic sound waves, which are directed into the body toward the structures to be examined. The waves create echoes of varying degrees depending on the density of the tissue and amount of fluid present. Those waves create detailed images of the structures, which are shown on a monitor and recorded for evaluation.

Ultrasound does not involve radiation, has no known side effects, and doesn’t typically require pets to be sedated or anesthetized. The hair in the area to be examined usually needs to be shaved so the ultrasonographer can obtain the best result.

If you have any questions about our ultrasonography service or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Identifying endocrine problems as early as possible is important in dogs and cats. These serious, potentially life-threatening conditions are much more manageable when caught early, allowing us to begin proper treatment.

The endocrine system is made up of a group of tissues (mostly glands) that release hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate metabolism, growth, development, and reproduction and are dispersed to different areas of the body, depending on the hormone’s function. When a hormonal balance is disturbed (by a tumor or autoimmune disease, for instance), an endocrine disorder can develop. “Hyper” refers to an excess of hormone, and “hypo” refers to a deficiency in a hormone. Treatment varies depending on the disease.

There are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats:

Diabetes mellitus is caused by a deficiency in or resistance to the hormone insulin.
Hypothyroidism, which is often diagnosed in dogs, indicates that the animal has low levels of thyroid hormone.
Hyperthyroidism, which frequently affects cats, indicates that the animal has high levels of thyroid hormones.
Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism) and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) can also affect both species, although Cushing’s disease is rare in cats.

Contact us if your pet begins panting excessively, develops any skin issues (such as hair loss or dull coat), or shows any changes in behavior, energy levels, appetite, weight, water consumption, or urination.







If your pet needs medical assistance, you can feel confident turning to us. Our knowledgeable staff and modern facilities are equipped to handle a wide variety of medical conditions, including emergencies. Because we can perform many diagnostic procedures in-house, we can often give you immediate answers and start treating your pet faster. In some cases, your pet may require hospitalization and further diagnostic tests. Please take a look at the more detailed descriptions of medical services we offer, or call us to discuss your pet’s needs.

To ensure a proper diagnosis, we often need to examine your pet. We begin a medical assessment by looking at your pet’s eyes, ears, and skin and checking his or her cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, and skeletal systems for any abnormalities. We will perform blood and/or urine tests as necessary to check your pet’s kidneys, liver, pancreas, and endocrine system, including the thyroid and adrenal glands. Based on your pet’s condition, we may recommend further diagnostic tests, such as radiography (x-rays), endoscopy (internal scoping), ultrasound, or biopsy.

If you’re concerned that something may be wrong with your pet, please call us to schedule a medical assessment. Depending on the symptoms, we may ask you to bring in your pet right away.

Pet dental care is as important to your dog or cat as it is to our human family members. Veterinary Medical Center of Folsom provides comprehensive pet dental care through regular exams, cat and dog teeth cleaning, and helping pet owners to create a manageable home dental care program.


Pet dental disease causes bad breath, tooth loss, and pain. Mild dental disease is called gingivitis and is characterized by tartar on the teeth and inflamed gums. When gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, the bone around the roots of the teeth becomes infected and begins to recede. Periodontal disease jeopardizes the teeth and allows bacteria into the bloodstream. The most common areas to become infected in this way are the heart valves and the kidneys. This danger increases as the age of your pet advances, because of altered blood flow through these organs and a waning immune system.