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In Celebration of Vet Techs

celebration of vet techsIt’s National Veterinary Technician Week! This event was created in 1993, and is celebrated every year during the third week of October. This holiday is near and dear to our hearts, as the AZ Pet Vet family values our veterinary technicians beyond words. They spend their time working with our sweet furry clients and are often times asked to do things that are nowhere near glamorous.  So thank you, vet techs!  We appreciate you and honor your commitment to our AZ Pet Vet family of both colleagues and clients.

If you are interested in becoming a veterinary technician, some of the duties to look forward to might include:

  • Assist doctors and team members with treatment of animals seen in the exam rooms, as well as those being hospitalized for treatments or surgery.
  • Have the ability to do blood draws, place IV catheters, give injections and vaccines, SQ fluids, express anal glands, clipping and scrubbing wounds, and provide restraint when needed.
  • Position animals and have the ability to take and process radiographs.
  • Perform laboratory procedures such as blood draws, fecal floats, urinalysis, heartworm tests, and parvo tests.
  • Support the doctors prepping for surgery, wrapping packs, autoclaving and sterilizing surgical materials, and assisting in surgeries and dental cleanings; assist with monitoring vital signs on all patients.
  • Assist with euthanasia.

In order to become a certified veterinary technician in the state of Arizona, you must graduate from a minimum two year AVMA accredited program in veterinary technology and pass a national and a state veterinary technician examination.

If you have any questions about becoming a technician or are already a certified technician looking for a new job, we’re always looking for awesome team members with the right attitude to join our family!  With 22 locations and growing, we have wonderful opportunities all across the valley.  Visit the careers page on our website (www.arizonapetvet.com/careers) to see our current openings.

Source: https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Documents/scope_vet_assistant_duties.pdf

Is My Pet Too Fat?

is my pet too fatOK, let’s be honest. If you’re asking the question ‘Is my pet too fat,’ the answer is probably YES.

Obesity is a HUGE problem in our country and it’s not just exclusive to people. In the U.S., it’s estimated that 57 percent of cats and 52 percent of dogs are overweight or clinically obese.

While a chubby pug or a fat cat may be adorably cute, the health consequences can be devastating for them and for you. Excess weight not only affects their quality of life, it can also make a BIG impact on your veterinary bills.

October 11th is Pet Obesity Awareness Day, so it’s a great time to learn the common causes of obesity in pets, and act before excess weight negatively impacts your pet’s health, and your heart and wallet.

So What’s Causing Pets to Get Fat?

Pet owners. When you’re busy, it’s easy to slip treats to a pet that wants your attention, or because they look so cute, sweet, sad…we all have our weak spots. If your pet learns you’ll reward them for a particular behavior, they’ll work it.

Yes, this means overfeeding is one of the main culprits – but it’s not just treat-based. Many people simply fill their pet’s bowl with food without thinking about the calories. Always use a measuring cup and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for weight, age and activity levels.

Lack of exercise is another issue – make sure your dog gets walks regularly (it’s good for you both) and that both cats and dogs get plenty of play time and activities to keep them moving. Even cats can be trained to walk on a leash – why not give it a try?

It’s our job as pet parents to take care of our furry friends. Obesity in pets is not always due too many treats and too little exercise. Just as in humans, underlying health issues like diabetes, thyroid or adrenal disorders can also cause weight gain in animals. If your pet is gaining weight, or already overweight or obese, it’s time to schedule a visit to the vet!

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s pet weight translator:

• A Yorkie weighting 12 pounds is the same as an average female weighing 218 pounds!
• A cat weighing 14 pounds is equivalent to a 237 pound man!
• A 90 pound female Labrador retriever is equal to a 186 pound 5’ 4” female or 217 pound 5’ 9” male!
• A fluffy feline weighing 15 pounds (DSH) is equal to a 218 pound 5’ 4” female or 254 pound 5’ 9” male!

Check out your pet’s weight equivalent by breed, age and gender here to see if they are at a healthy weight or need to lose weight:

http://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-weight-translator/

Bottom line: Obesity can take years off of your pet’s life – and it’s up to you to do something. Check out the guidelines in the link above, and schedule regular health check-ups.

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. If you’re thinking of getting a dog, please bypass breeders and pet stores in favor of local shelters.

Every year in the United States there are up to 4 million animals of all ages in shelters waiting to be adopted.

Tragically, most of them will not find loving homes, and they will be euthanized.

The Greater Phoenix Metro area has dozens of wonderful rescue organizations, including breed specific rescues, many with low adoption fees. The Maricopa County Animal Control Center regularly holds events with low to no fee adoption. A quick Google search for ‘Arizona Dog Rescue’ will give you a list of possibilities to explore.

So when you’re looking for your next pet, don’t shop – rescue! Who knows? You may find the love of your life. And that’s a great bargain at any price.

Does My Dog Need a Flu Shot?

Canine flu has been in the news recently, with some limited outbreaks recorded in Northern Arizona. Naturally, we’ve had a lot of calls from concerned pet parents. We totally get it. Our pets are beloved family members. Of course we want to be sure they’re getting the care they need in order to stay healthy!

Since we just happen to have more than 100 knowledgeable veterinarians in our AZ Pet Vet family, we decided to ask Dr. Chris Hummel from AZ Pet Vet Peoria to answer the most frequently asked questions about Canine Influenza.

Q: Is dog flu the same as people flu?

No. From a viral standpoint, dog flu is NOT the same as people flu. The two strains of Canine Influenza viruses found in the United States are H3N8 and N3N2, which researchers believe originated in horses. In very rare cases the dog flu virus has been known to infect cats, but the flu poses little risk to cats beyond a runny nose, coughing and/or sneezing.

People don’t get dog flu, and dogs don’t get people flu. However, in people and in dogs, there’s a gap between being exposed to the flu virus and developing symptoms. That’s why we’ll so often see outbreaks happen in clusters. Somebody is contagious and doesn’t know it until it’s too late; then suddenly everyone is sick.

From the American Veterinary Medical Association:

H3N8 has an incubation period of 1 to 5 days, with clinical signs in most cases appearing 2 to 3 days after exposure. Dogs infected with H3N2 may start showing respiratory signs between 2 and 8 days after infection. Dogs are most contagious during the incubation period and shed the virus even though they are not showing clinical signs of illness. Some dogs may show no signs of illness, but have a subclinical infection and shed the virus.”

Q: How would a dog catch the flu?

Almost the same way a person would. The virus is transmitted through the air by sneezing and coughing (or barking, drooling and licking), or by contact with infected surfaces. Most likely, they would come into contact with another dog that’s contagious. So exposure to the dog flu virus usually happens at places where you find lots of dogs; the dog park, doggie daycare, a boarding kennel, grooming salon or dog show.

Q: What are the symptoms? 

Well, here’s another area where dog flu is similar to people flu. Dogs with the flu will show symptoms like fever, lethargy, cough, stuffy or runny nose and watery eyes, difficulty breathing, wheezing or rapid breathing. You’ll be able to tell they’re not feeling well. Keep them quiet and away from other pets to avoid exposing them to the virus. Then it’s time to get busy.

The Canine Influenza virus can remain viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. Wash your hands frequently. Wash your clothing, and clean and disinfect other items your pet may have touched. These include kennels and crates, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, bedding and toys.

Q: Is dog flu dangerous?

The severity of the flu varies depending on the viral strain, the pet’s age and overall health. Most otherwise healthy dogs will recover from the flu without problem or any special treatment required. The cough may last for up to 3-4 weeks.

Older dogs with weakened immune systems or puppies with underdeveloped immunity are more at risk as their bodies will have a harder time fighting the virus, so there’s a higher risk for developing pneumonia.

Dogs with short muzzles, like pugs and bulldogs, already have a compromised respiratory system. Sore throats and stuffy noses would naturally make them feel quite sick, so they’d need close monitoring and a trip to the vet’s office.   

Q: How is Canine Influenza treated?   

There is no specific treatment for Canine Influenza. Most dogs will not need any specialized treatment. The majority of treatments used in severe cases are supportive. They may include IV fluids, oxygen, antibiotics, breathing treatments, and mucolytics (a class of medications which help break down mucus to make it easier to expel it from the lungs).

Q: So should my dog get a flu shot? 

While vaccines are available for both H3N8 and H3N2 strains of canine influenza, vaccination would only be recommended for dogs at high risk for infection. It is important to note, vaccination can only reduce the risk of a dog contracting canine influenza, it may not prevent an infection. However, it can potentially reduce the severity and duration of the flu. It’s best to talk over your concerns with your vet.

Q: Anything else we need to know? 

One last, but very important reminder – people can’t get dog flu, but they can inadvertently spread it if they’ve touched a contaminated surface (or petted one). That’s why animal hospitals follow strict guidelines for cleaning and disinfection. We take extra precautions when seeing pets that are exhibiting respiratory symptoms.

If you suspect your pet has the flu or has been exposed to it, or they’re having respiratory symptoms, call us first. You may receive special instructions for bringing your dog into the office. These restrictions are in place to reduce the risk of exposing other animals in the waiting room to something that could be contagious.

Find an AZ Pet Vet location near you

World Rabies Day – September 28

World Rabies Day is the 28th of September. It was created to both inspire activism and raise awareness of the disease.

What is Rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that infects the central nervous system of humans and animals and causes inflammation of the brain. It can be deadly to animals and humans, so it’s important for pets to be vaccinated.

In Arizona, Maricopa and Pinal County laws require dogs to be vaccinated against the rabies virus. Puppies should receive a rabies vaccine at 16 weeks, and a rabies booster the following year. Once a dog has completed the puppy rabies vaccination series, they should be vaccinated against rabies every three years.

How does it spread?
Typically rabies is spread by other warm-blooded animals infected with the virus. Rabies is most commonly found in bats in Europe, North America, and Australia, and in dogs in Asia and Africa.

From the Arizona Department of Health Services:

In Arizona, the principal rabies hosts are bats, skunks, and foxes. These animals carry their own distinct rabies virus variants or “strains”. When rabies activity within these animal groups increases, rabies can “spillover” into other mammal species, such as bobcats, coyotes, javelina, cats, dogs, horses, cows, etc.

Every year, approximately 30 people are exposed to rabid animals in Arizona. People who are exposed must receive vaccine and anti-rabies serum treatment to prevent infection.

In Arizona, bats present the most common source of rabies exposures to humans because rabid bats often fall to the ground where they are easily accessible to people and pets. Bats are generally not aggressive. Exposure to rabid bats usually occurs when people pick up or handle a sick or dead bat. Other rabies exposures occur when people try to approach or feed wild animals, or in some cases, are attacked by rabid animals such as foxes, bobcats, and skunks. Most rabies exposures can be avoided by simply leaving bats and other wild animals alone.

How can rabies be prevented?
A simple vaccine from your vet will help ensure the health of you and your pet. Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other domestic pets should be vaccinated. Arizona law requires dogs to be vaccinated against rabies and licensed.

Get your pet protected! The Arizona Pet Vet FREE Vaccines for Life program can help keep your pets safe from infectious diseases. Find more information here.