Dr. Jon Klingborg


Dr. Jon Klingborg (‘Dr. K’) is a small animal veterinarian in Merced, California. His practice includes dogs, cats, and other furry creatures (chinchillas, hamsters, etc.)

    He has been a vocal advocate on animal welfare and has encouraged veterinarians to take a leadership role on such issues.  ‘Dr. K’ has lectured at state and national veterinary conventions on animal welfare issues, and was instrumental in developing The CVMA’s Eight Principles of Animal Care and Use and the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Principles—landmark documents that states how animals should be treated by veterinarians and society.

    In 2006, ‘Dr. K’ was named a “Distinguished Practitioner” by the National Academies of Practice—an honor bestowed upon only 150 practicing veterinarians in the United States.

    Dr. K served as President of the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) in 2004 -2005.  This is the largest state veterinary association in the United States.  During his term, he spoke out about important issues such as ear cropping, cat declawing, and pet cloning.  He interviews on these issues have appeared in media around the world—from Boston to Bahrain, California to Korea.

    Dr. Klingborg has also been very involved in Mentoring the next generation of animal doctors.  As Guest Faculty to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. K lectures to veterinary students on the importance of good client communication to a successful practice.

Blog posts by Dr. Jon Klingborg

Fido On the Couch

A pet’s problem isn’t always caused by a medical condition. Sometimes, our furry friends have a problem between their ears. In veterinary terminology, we refer to these animals as being “a little cuckoo.”  (Not really.)

    Behavior problems are as serious and often as debilitating as any medical condition. In dogs, I often see behavior disorders such as Panic Attacks, Phobias, Separation Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Licking, Pacing, and Rhythmic Barking.

    Cats may manifest Tail Mutilation, Excessive Grooming, Paw Shaking, and Wool Sucking—just to name a few unusual behaviors in the long list of feline compulsive disorders.


Beauty or A Beast?

For over a century, there has been a tremendous debate regarding human behavior and personality—neatly called “Nature versus Nurture.” The central question is ‘what is more important to determining personality—a person’s genetics or how he was raised?”

Though the jury is still out regarding people, this debate was settled a long time ago in the animal kingdom. Anyone who has cared for creatures of any kind knows that animals are born with the foundation of their ‘personality.’

In other words, a pet’s nature tends to closely resemble the parents’ natures. Anxious animal parents are more likely to have anxious offspring. Our ancestors understood this by domesticating pets through selectively breeding the social animals in order to create more social offspring.


Curing Slurpophrenia

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of tired, crazed dog owners in the clinic, and they are all suffering from Slurpophrenia. Correctly diagnosing and treating the cause of this disease will lead to happy dogs and happier owners.  Dogs that cause Slurpophrenia usually fall into 3 categories—the bored, the anxious, or the allergic.

    Some dogs will repeatedly lick their feet to alleviate boredom. These dogs typically start the slurping when you settle down at night to watch television.  Since your dog doesn’t want to watch TV, he needs something to do.  While compulsively licking, his body releases chemicals that relax him.  These endorphins are the dog’s natural narcotic, and some dogs seem to get hooked on them!  


I Am Fifi’s Anal Glands

Ever wonder why dogs and cats are always smelling each other’s rear ends? If you guessed that they were sniffing for us-- the anal glands-- then you are probably right. Anal glands don’t like to toot our own horn, but we are very important in most animals. Many creatures use the fluid we produce for marking territory or self-defense. (The skunk always wins “Anal Gland of the Year.”)

In dogs and cats, we are located on the lower right and lower left hand sides of the anus. This strategic location means that your pet will stop defecating if we get too full. And then he will be constipated and have a sore bottom. Double Ouch!


Living In the Moment

Pets do think about the future. This is why a dog becomes anxious when he knows that it is time for his daily walk and why a cat will wait patiently for a mouse to emerge from a mouse hole.

    However, animals don’t think about the distant future. Pets don’t plan their calendar for the weekend, and they don’t make decisions based on long term benefits—such as a dog that ‘decides’ to go on a diet so that he can run as fast as the other dogs in the neighborhood.

    In other words, pets spend most of their time “Living in the Moment.”  This outlook becomes incredibly important when a pet is in pain. An animal in pain knows only that it is in pain. It doesn’t wonder how or why it is in pain, and it doesn’t anticipate that the pain will go away tomorrow or next week or next month.  While living in the moment can have its advantages, a pet in pain is unable to imagine its life without that pain.


Rocket & Reginald

A constant “whoom-whoom-whoom” could be heard outside the exam room. It sounded like a racecar hurtling around a track. Slowly opening the door, I saw the yellow comet called Rocket, a four-month old Labrador, as he completed another lap. His owner, Ray Tyred looked at me with a helpless expression on his face.

“He has a lot of energy,” he explained. Ray slumped in the chair and seemed depressed. “Too much energy. Running, digging holes---I should have named him Trencher.” Rocket slowed down long enough to give his owner’s hand a quick lick and then accelerated again.
“Where did you find Rocket?”

“A guy named Joe Hunter breeds them. I heard he has the best dogs. I got pick of the litter.”

“And how did you pick Rocket?”


The Secret Life of Fleas

Adult fleas aren’t very clever and they aren’t particularly sneaky. (In this way, they are often thought of as being similar to people—the teenagers are always much brighter than their parents.)

    If you can pass an eye test at the DMV, you should be able to see adult fleas on your pet.  Adult fleas want to spend all of their time on your tasty pet, so they aren’t hard to find.  Both male and female fleas love to drink blood, and after a good blood meal the females will lay about 40 eggs per day.  Once the feasting has ended, most fleas leave little black specks on your pet—these specks are called “flea dirt,” which is a nice term for flea poop!


Buttons’ Disgrace

“Buttons” is the sort of dog whose feet never hit the ground. Being of fine breeding, she is the queen of all dogs-- Buttons is a lap dog.  Buttons views her world from a throne exactly four feet above the ground, nestled snuggly in her owner’s adoring arms.  She has the good life: a human companion who usually manages to feed her on time, a bed by the fireplace, and a profound misunderstanding of the word “no.”      

    One fine spring day, our canine heroine began to itch.  It was a deep, insatiable itchiness, one that wouldn’t go away no matter how much she scratched, nibbled, or chewed.  Buttons was 5 years old (though she claimed to be under 30 in people years),  and this incurable, mind-numbing itchiness  had never happened before!


The (Un)Welcome Matte

As it warms up, pets go through the spring and summer ritual of shedding their winter hair and leaving it all over the furniture! Though shedding is a natural process, if your pet is starting to look really “clumpy,” his matted hair can either lead to or be a sign of serious health problems.

Clumps of hair don’t “breathe” very well, and they trap a lot of moisture against the skin. Over time, the skin will become inflamed. As your pet accumulates more mattes, he may actually become sick from skin infections. At the very least, mattes are uncomfortable. Would you like to have your hair pulled all the time and every day? Of course not!



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