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Preparedness Month – HEAT STROKE

heat of sun on thermometer reads 110 degreesThe Arizona summer is here. Dogs that spend time outdoors are in danger of hyperthermia, commonly known as heat stroke. Hyperthermia occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises dangerously above normal (103°F), putting them in danger of multiple organ failure or death.  Early recognition and treatment of heat stroke improves your pet’s chances of making a quick recovery.

While people can tell us when they aren’t feeling well, it’s a little harder for pets. We have to pay close attention to their behavior. Here are the signs and symptoms to watch for:

SYMPTOMS

  • Panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums
  • Reduced urine production
  • Rapid/irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting blood/ black, tarry stools
  • Changes in mental status (ie, confusion)
  • Seizures/muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
  • Unconsciousness / Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)

TREATMENT

Panting is how dogs naturally cool themselves. Rapid, continual panting is a sign your pet is overheating and stressed. Bring them inside out of the heat, and call your vet to alert them of the situation. They can provide guidance for your next steps.

Next, take steps to gradually cool your pet down. Do NOT use ice or extremely cold water as it can cause shock and other undesirable reactions. Lightly spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cool, wet towels and use a fan for convection cooling. 

Evaporative cooling can also be achieved by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on foot pads, groin, and under the forelegs. When their temperature reaches 103° F, stop cooling to avoid dropping below normal body temperature, then seek veterinary care to be certain they’re out of danger.

What to Do When a Pet Gets Fleas

Fleas and ticks are the two most common external parasites found in dogs and cats, and both will cause your pet to scratch themselves more frequently. These nasty little guys survive by feeding on the blood of dogs, cats and sometimes people. Flea and tick bites can lead to health problems including constant itching, hair loss (alopecia), hypersensitivity (allergic reaction), as well as infections and transmission of disease. Here are some tips to help you get rid of these nasty pests:

Step 1: Treat the pet’s environment. You must kill fleas and ticks where they live when they’re not on your pet. Hire a professional exterminator. Be sure to explain that you have a flea or tick problem and that you have pets.

Step 2: Kill fleas and ticks that are on your pet. When used as directed, flea and tick control products are safe and effective at preventing re-infestation of your pet. There are several excellent products available for cats and dogs. Ask your vet for a product recommendation that will be suitable for your pet.

Step 3: Prevent re-infection. Treatment with a product like Frontline Top Spot will kill and repel ticks for one month, and fleas for up to three months. Use Frontline Top Spot topical treatment on dogs as young as ten weeks of age and cats as young as twelve weeks of age. Pet beds, carpets, blankets and other items must also be sanitized to kill any eggs that may be hiding.

Step 4: Break the reproductive cycle of fleas. In the past, controlling fleas and ticks has been difficult, however, new products are available which make external parasite control manageable. Your vet can recommend a safe and effective product for your pet.

Remember – fleas and ticks are NOT just summer time problems. While it does get cool enough during the winter to decrease flea and tick activity, it does not get cold enough to kill them. Fleas and ticks can live very happily indoors during the winter months, so be aware and check your pets frequently year round.

Questions or concerns? Talk to your veterinarian.

Microchip Your Pets Awareness Month

pet microchipDespite our best efforts, pets have a knack for getting lost. That’s why it’s important to have your pets microchipped. One tiny chip can mean the difference between a lost pet ending up in a shelter (and potentially being euthanized) and finding their way home.

What are microchips? Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that use radio frequency waves to transmit information about your pet. They’re implanted just under the skin, usually right between the shoulder blades.

How do they work? Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. The animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.

How long do microchips last? Microchips are designed to work for 25 years.

Where can I get my pet microchipped? At any of our AZPetVet locations!

What if I move? You will need to contact the company that registers the chip to update your information; otherwise, the chip will be useless. You may be charged a small fee to process the update.

What do I do if I adopt a pet who’s already been microchipped? If you know what brand of chip your pet has, contact the corresponding registry to update the information. If you don’t know what type of chip your pet has, find a vet or animal shelter that can read it.

If you have the number of your pet’s microchip, but have forgotten where you registered your contact information, you may be able find the original registry here, then call to have the information updated. If you don’t have the number, ask your vet to scan your pet for the chip number and any other information.

What to Do If Your Dog is Lost

As veterinarians, lost dogs come through our doors every day. We scan them for a microchip, in hopes of helping them find their people. Sometimes, we have a happy ending – other times, no owner can be found.

April 23 is National Lost Dog Awareness Day, so here are some ways to make sure your dog has the best chance of getting home if he/she gets lost:

Microchip: Get your pets microchipped during their first vet visit, and be sure to keep your contact information up to date. 

Collar & Tags: Make sure your pet wears a collar and tags. ID is their best bet to get home!

Make Posters: Include a current photo, cross streets, contact details, a reward (if applicable) and any other pertinent information. Post them around your neighborhood and in local grocery stores, vet offices, pet stores and community centers.

Social Media: Post your lost pet’s details on Straydar and NextDoor – there are highly engaged people who can help in your search!

Call Local Animal Control & Shelters: File a lost pet report ASAP with shelters and rescue organizations. Visit local shelters daily if possible.

Download the ASPCA App

Poison Prevention Week – Keeping Pets Safe

It’s National Poison Prevention Week, so it’s a great time to review the signs of poisoning. Knowledge is power, and recognizing the signs of poisoning in pets can literally be a lifesaver. The sooner you can act, the more likely a good outcome.

If your pet exhibits any of the following signs or symptoms, call your vet immediately!

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Black or bloody stool

HOW TO PREVENT ACCIDENTAL POISONING

Lock away toxic chemicals. Cleaning fluids, weed killer, antifreeze, pesticides, and fertilizers are just a few of the items you probably have around your home and garage. Keep them out of reach of pets and little hands.

Keep medications out of reach. Medications are meant to heal, however, they can also harm. Blood pressure, heart meds, antidepressants, and pain killers like NSAIDs and acetaminophen are some of the common medications that are very toxic to animals (and children!). Best to keep them in a high cabinet.

Restrict access to foods and plants that are harmful to dogs and cats. While it’s tempting to slip your pets treats from your plate, many foods can be toxic to animals. Don’t forget, many plants can be hazardous too!

Foods That Can Be Poisonous to Pets
Plants Toxic to Pets

Pet Poisons from A to Z

Be prepared in case of a pet poisoning emergency. Keep hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal on hand in case of an emergency. Post the numbers for your preferred vet clinic and other emergency numbers near your phone. Don’t forget to program them into your phone to save valuable time. Speaking of phones, there are many pet health and emergency apps available for free download at the Google Play Store and Apple Store.

Outside of your vet, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435