How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture can be used alongside pharmaceuticals and other therapies such as low level laser as part of a multi-modal pain management plan. Acupuncture works by tricking the body into thinking it was injured. The body’s own response is then initiated to decrease pain, increase healing, and normalise the body. The needles have effects locally, segmentally along the spinal cord, and systemically. It is important that the animal is relaxed and comfortable during treatment for the best response. Most animals respond very well to acupuncture, and some may even fall asleep during treatment. The treatments will build upon the previous one until a steady state is reached. For this reason it is recommended to try 3-4 treatments weekly to determine if the pet will benefit from acupuncture. In acute cases this may be all the treatment the animal needs, and in chronic cases acupuncture may become part of a maintenance regimen. In those cases the frequency is weaned down to the lowest frequency possible. There is a small percentage of pets that do not respond to acupuncture or will not tolerate treatment. Other treatments such as low level laser therapy can be useful in these situations.


What is Low Level Laser Therapy?

Like Acupuncture, Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) encourages the body to use its own mechanisms to promote healing and decrease pain. Similar to how a plant absorbs sunlight for photosynthesis, animal cells can absorb the energy from LLLT. By the activation of multiple biochemical pathways, the energy is used to promote tissue repair, increase blood flow, decrease inflammation, and decrease pain. The treatment is safe and well tolerated. For these reasons LLLT can be used in numerous cases. Like acupuncture, LLLT builds upon previous treatments to reach an effective dose. It can be used in acute cases such as post operative pain relief and wound healing, and chronic cases such as osteoarthritis.


Our San Juan Capistrano veterinary team is here to assist you and your pet with both outpatient and inpatient care. Dr. Matthew Brehmer, Dr. Lynlee Fluent and our technical staff will address all of your concerns and we encourage you to ask questions. A big part of our job is client education and we welcome the opportunity to help you provide the best for your pet. Due to the many recent discoveries and advances in veterinary medicine, your pet can be protected against most major diseases.

We strongly recommend a comprehensive pet wellness examination at least once a year in order to detect potential problems. When it comes to veterinary medicine, prevention truly is the best medicine. The staff at Ortega Animal Care Center is dedicated to being an integral part of your pet’s care throughout every stage of life.

Now offering San Juan Capo veterinary house call services and in-home euthanasia.


We strive to keep your pet in peak health, doing everything possible to prevent illness. Both pets and pet owners benefit from investing in wellness programs! Our San Juan Capo pet wellness programs are designed specifically for your pet and include: Comprehensive physical exams, internal parasite testing and prevention, parasite control, vaccination programs and specialized blood tests for all life stages.


(Ask about our Well Puppy and Kitten Healthy Start Packages)

Getting a new puppy or kitten is a wonderful experience and we’re here to help get the newest member of your family off to a perfect start. Vaccinations, internal parasite testing and prevention, flea and tick control, and neutering are just a few of the important preventative care measures we can help you with. Our staff will answer all your questions and will work with you to make sure your new pet receives the best in medical care. Greeting your new puppy or kitten is definitely a heart-warming benefit that our entire staff looks forward to.


One of the most important things we do is encourage preventative care, this is especially true for our clients with older pets. Old age is not a disease – it is a natural process that includes a variety of changes that can affect your pet’s quality of life. By identifying changes early, we have a much better chance of keeping your pet as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

While healthy adult pets should be examined at least once a year to evaluate their overall health, pets over the age of 6 should be examined at least twice a year. Since older pets are at increased risk for problems, the earlier we can detect the problem, the more we can do to minimize the effect.


Obesity is the number one most commonly diagnosed illness in pets in America. Allowing your pet to become overweight will significantly reduce their lifespan. The risk of problems associated with obesity, such as diabetes, respiratory issues, orthopedic injuries and arthritis can be significantly reduced with regular check-ups and by adjusting your pet’s diet with age and lifestyle. No single food is ideal for all life stages, which is why our veterinarians provide nutritional counseling individualized to your pet’s needs and life stage. Ortega Animal Care Center offers Hill’s and Royal Canin prescription diets, which can be pre-ordered to ensure availability when you arrive to pick up your pet’s food. We also offer home delivery of prescription diets and select medications, for your convenience.


It is particularly important to have your pet’s dental health checked regularly since they can have difficulty fighting off infections, such as tooth abscesses, as they age. We strongly encourage yearly dental exams, starting from the first new puppy or kitten visit. Dental issues can occur at any stage of life and it is important that they are addressed in a timely manner to avoid much larger problems in their future. We offer an array of veterinary dental services from home dental care education, to anesthetic dental cleaning, extraction, and oral surgery. Digital dental x-ray is a vital component to a thorough dental prophylaxis, and we are proud to announce that this service is coming to Ortega Animal Care Center in 2014. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and we offer free dental examinations throughout the month, by appointment. For more information on dental care, please see our Dental Services page.


Ortega Animal Care Center in San Juan Capo offers the advantage of an extremely well equipped in-house veterinary laboratory to aid in your pet’s diagnosis, providing you with immediate answers. Since most samples do not need to be sent to an outside lab to be interpreted, critical patients can receive the care they need immediately. Our state-of-the-art veterinary laboratory provides fast and reliable results. Serious conditions, including anemia, diabetes and electrolyte imbalance can be diagnosed within minutes. In-house diagnostic testing allows our doctors to diagnose serious conditions immediately so that specific treatment can be started without delay.

Our laboratory equipment also allows us to obtain important, current pre-anesthetic information prior to surgery. Pre-surgical blood work can be performed on the same day, eliminating an extra trip to the hospital. Pre-anesthetic diagnostic testing can greatly reduce the risks associated with anesthesia and surgery.

For more extensive veterinary diagnostic tests, we have quick access to a reference laboratory that provides timely and accurate results.


We carry a full line of the latest in veterinary pharmacology. After our veterinarian diagnoses your pet’s illness, he or she will prescribe the most appropriate medication while you wait. This is extremely convenient to our clients, as medications can be dispensed before leaving the hospital. The Ortega Animal Care Center dispensary assures your animal’s medication needs are taken care of while at the hospital.


Our animal hospital is well equipped to perform most minor and major surgical procedures from spays and neuters to more complicated emergency surgery. For complicated veterinary orthopedic procedures, we have a Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon who comes to our facility to perform surgery on your pet, with the highest quality and standards. Intensive care cases requiring 24 hour monitoring can be transferred to nearby VMSG for around-the-clock specialist care. Prior to surgery, each patient receives a thorough physical examination to identify any existing medical condition that may endanger your pet’s health. We then carefully place an IV catheter and start your pet on fluids to insure adequate hydration.

Because not all problems can be detected on examination, we do require pre-anesthetic blood tests. These tests give us a more complete picture of your pet’s health and help assure us that your pet will metabolize the anesthesia well. Remember, you’re placing your pet in our care and we take that responsibility very seriously. Since every effort is made to help your pet feel secure and comfortable during each step of the procedures, we administer a pre-anesthetic injection to help your pet relax.

Every surgery is done with strict sterility standards. Your pet’s vital signs during anesthesia will be closely monitored through the use of pulse oximetry, respiratory monitoring, cardiac monitoring, blood pressure monitoring, as well as the constant attentive eyes of the Veterinarian and surgical technician.

Pain management is an important part of our pre-operative, intra-operative and post-operative anesthetic and medical protocol. Immediately following the surgery, your pet will receive an injection for pain to minimize any discomfort. In some cases, we will also dispense an at-home pain management medication.

Finally, your pet will recover under the care of the surgical technician. We realize you are concerned about your pet and are anxious to know how he’s doing. Once your pet is out of surgery, we will call you to let you know the surgery is complete so you can relax. As always, we treat your pets as if they are our own, with tender, loving care every step of the way.


Ultrasound is a non-invasive technique for assessing anatomy and pathology. High-frequency sound waves produced from a hand held device are used to examine internal organs. Ultrasound examination is completely painless and generally can be performed using no sedation or anesthesia. Ortega Animal Care Center is equipped with an ultrasound unit for brief and emergency ultrasound examination. For more complex cases requiring a high level of skill and expertise, we have a Veterinary Ultrasound Specialist who will come to the office and perform a complete abdominal or cardiac ultrasound and collect samples if necessary.


We offer state-of-the-art veterinary digital radiology that produces outstanding radiographs. Radiographs are extremely helpful in diagnosing and monitoring many medical and surgical problems. Having the ability to digitally enhance the finished radiographs gives the veterinarian a tool to “zoom in” on specific areas without having to re-take the radiographs, which significantly minimizes your pet’s exposure to radiation. We’re also able to send the radiograph directly to the computer monitors in our exam rooms so we can review them directly with you.

To better determine the best course of San Juan Capo veterinary dental care your pet deserves, we recommend specialized dental x-rays, such as your dentist performs in their office. Ask our veterinarians about the advantages of dental radiographs during your pet’s dental examination. This service will be available at Ortega Animal Care Center in early 2014.


On occasion, it might be easier to drop your pet off on your way to work for minor medical treatment and preventative care. This is a great alternative to a fixed appointment if you find yourself short on time. Our receptionist or veterinary technician will take complete information from you to help our doctors during their examination of your pet. Once your pet has been evaluated by our veterinarian, we will call you and discuss his or her needs with you. Rest assured your pet will be well cared for in our clean, spacious treatment room and ready for you to pick up at a pre-arranged time that is convenient for you. We now offer after-hours check-in and check-out from 6pm-6am, by appointment only, to meet your scheduling needs.


When it comes time to say goodbye to your beloved pet, we offer humane euthanasia and cremation services. During this difficult time, and when they are allowed the time to plan ahead, some pet owners prefer to say goodbye in the privacy of their own home. Our veterinarians are available for house calls on a limited basis. Otherwise, we have a wonderful referral service that can meet all of your needs, including grievance counseling, in-home hospice care and euthanasia, and other in-home services including holistic and homeopathic care and acupuncture. For more information, please ask a member of our veterinary staff.