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2022 Winner of Alameda Magazine's Best Veterinary Clinic Award.

Photo of Dr. Karen Buchinger

Dr. Buchinger Retires!

After more than 25 years of residency at Alameda Pet Hospital, I am retiring from regular duty. It has been an honor and a pleasure helping so many pets and their caretakers over the years. I have enjoyed the relationships and grown as a human while owning the business, and I am very happy that Dr. Wagner has carried the torch these past couple of years since she took ownership.

I look forward to my future days of re-learning how to golf, riding my bike along beach pathways, having the time to cook more at home, and of course filling in occasionally at Alameda Pet Hospital when needed.

It is not farewell, but “see you later!”

—Dr. Karen

Dental care is important

Dentistry is an important part of animal health care. Maintaining a healthy mouth prevents dental problems such as bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. Taking care of your pet’s teeth should be an important part of their overall health care plan.

Here are some common questions and comments our animal care team receives from clients regarding their animal’s mouths and their concerns of having a COHAT performed:

1. “What is a COHAT?”

A COHAT is a Complete Oral Health Assessment and Treatment. The dental cleaning is just one part of this service. By thoroughly evaluating the oral cavity under anesthesia, tooth integrity can be assessed, and any problem teeth can be extracted at that time.

Photo of dog with toothbrush

2. “It’s so expensive.”

Yes, dental procedures are expensive. Animals will not hold their mouths open like we do at the dentist. To ensure the procedure is safe, we must anesthetize the animals and secure an airway for the procedure. A dental procedure performed without general anesthesia is only a light cleaning. Dental disease below the gumline is not being addressed, and this is the main problem area for tooth decay. Assessing a tooth as being structurally sound on an awake animal is a disservice.

3. “I prefer non-anesthetic dental cleanings.”

Under California law, non-anesthetic dental cleanings are only allowed to be performed under the direct supervision of veterinarians. Establishments that offer this service without a veterinarian overseeing the procedure are only allowed to brush the pet’s teeth. Scaling and polishing go hand-in-hand. Scaling the teeth without polishing will leave micro-fissures in the teeth that will accelerate plaque build-up. Non-anesthetic dental cleanings do not allow an assessment of dental disease below the gumline. Too often, we have seen teeth that are beautifully white with inflamed gums. The tooth may be rotten, but by cleaning just the crown, owners are given a false sense of security regarding their animals’ teeth.

Photo of cat with toothbrush

4. “Extractions? How will my pet eat?”

Guaranteed, they will eat better once the painful teeth have been extracted. Have you ever had a bad tooth? Do you chew with that tooth? Dental pain HURTS. Animals are not putting bite pressure on diseased teeth. Animals feel much better once the diseased teeth have been extracted.

5. “Animals in the wild don’t get dental care and they do fine.”

Actually, no they don’t. Animals in the wild suffer dental disease as well. Domesticated animals are fortunate to have owners that love them and make decisions to help keep them happy and comfortable.

By taking care of your pet’s oral health through regular veterinary dental care, you can ensure that they have a happy and healthy life. Taking the time to get your pet the care they need can save you money in the long run and help prevent costly dental problems in the future.

AVMA National Pet Dental Month health poster

Pet Dental Health

The importance of animal dental care is often overlooked. More than 80% of animals suffer from some degree of dental disease, also known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is infection and inflammation of the gums and bone that support the teeth. Similar to the tip of an iceberg, there is much more to dental disease than just the visual appearance of the tooth. Most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it.

Important Information About Pet Dental Care

1. Dental disease can really hurt, but not all animals act like they’re uncomfortable. Some pets may reduce their food intake or even stop eating, while others eat like champs despite the oral discomfort.

2. Preventative care is the best way to support our pets’ teeth and gums. Home dental care is essential. Tooth brushing and preventative chews can slow down the advancement of dental disease. Click here for a tooth brushing how-to, and here for a list of pet dental treats and chews that are accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).

3. Regarding chewing items, Kongs and other rubber items that have some “give” under pressure are best. Bones are too hard, and so are plastic items and other firm surfaces often sold at pet stores. If the item is too hard, the tooth will break under pressure, instead of the chewing item. We too often need to extract teeth that have been broken in this way. For heavy chewers, always keep an eye on them so that they don’t swallow pieces of the object they’re chewing on.

4. Regular routine veterinary cleanings under general anesthesia are essential. We call this a “COHAT”—a complete oral health assessment and treatment. Under general anesthesia, we can fully evaluate the integrity of your pet’s teeth, clean them, and extract any diseased teeth. Occasionally we will recommend an appointment with a board-certified veterinary dentist, specifically if the tooth would benefit from a root canal or if the level of dental disease is complicated and requires extensive anesthesia.

5. Please don’t hold off on dental cleaning/COHAT until your pet is obviously uncomfortable. The goal of COHAT is to preserve the teeth, not to wait and have to extract all the teeth at once. This will keep your animal’s mouth feeling its best and reduce the overall cost of dental care.

Our veterinary team can help guide you through the steps of determining if a professional dental cleaning and oral health assessment under general anesthetic is indicated advised. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us about dental care for your pet.


Alameda Pet Hospital is now hosting in-person examinations for pets of vaccinated clients on a limited basis. We are also continuing our curbside care. We still require all clients to call or text us upon arrival, even for those who plan to enter our building for their animal’s examination. Masks are required.

When you arrive, please call us at 510-523-1626 and select option 2


text the phrase “I’M HERE” to 510-523-1626. Be sure to include your first name, last name, and your pet’s name.

Exams & Non-Urgent Questions

We are utilizing several alternatives to phone calls due to our extremely high call volume. Please reach out to us via email at or text us at 510-523-1626 for refill requests, non-urgent questions, or appointment requests.  Please include your full name and your animal’s name when texting us. We will get back to you within 1-2 business days.

We require 24 hours notice minimum when canceling an appointment. There may be a fee for a violation of this policy. Please communicate with our staff if you are unable to keep your appointment.

Due to increased demand for services, we require a deposit for new clients. This fee will be applied to the first veterinary visit. If the appointment is canceled more than 24 hours in advance, the funds will be refunded to the card used. If the appointment is rescheduled, the deposit will roll over to the new appointment.

Prescription Refills

If your pet needs a prescription refilled, you might want to try our online pharmacy so that your order can be delivered directly to your home. Medication refill requests may also be submitted via email or text (510-523-1626). Requests received before 12 pm for medications with refills previously authorized will be available for pick-up after 4 pm the same day, otherwise the next day. Medications without previously approved refills must be approved by one of our veterinarians. Please allow an additional business day for approval.

Coronavirus Information

For the very latest information on COVID-19, you can check these sites:

CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
WHO – World Health Organization
WSAVA – World Small Animal Veterinary Association

Photo of black and white cat

If you need veterinary care for birds, reptiles, or small mammals, click here for Dr. Granzow’s list of local exotic vets.

Office Hours

Monday through Friday:
8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday and Thursday:
8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Evening hours are exclusively for wellness exams at this time.

Online Scheduling is Currently Not Available

We’ve had to temporarily disable our online scheduling feature, so please call us to make an appointment.

You can still log in to your Pet Portal account if you want to check your pet’s medical records online. If you don’t have an account yet, you can click on the link below to sign up.

Rapport Pet Portal Login

Contact Us

(510) 523-1626

Alameda Pet Hospital
2275 Buena Vista Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
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