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National Vet Tech Week is Here

Vet Tech Week 2018Veterinary technicians are some of the most important people in the AZPetVet family. A licensed veterinary technician, or LVT, has earned an associate’s degree or higher in veterinary technology from an accredited school. Most importantly, a licensed Vet Tech has passed a national exam demonstrating specific knowledge and competencies. A Vet Tech’s training includes laboratory and clinical work with live animals. You’ll find Vet Techs wherever you find veterinarians on staff – from animal hospitals like AZPetVet to the zoo. 

What Does a Vet Tech Do?

Vet Techs perform a variety of functions every single day. Here are just a few:

  • Educate about pet health
  • Initial evaluation of an animal’s condition
  • Collect blood and stool samples
  • Check vital statistics
  • Clean and wrap wounds
  • Provide nutritional advice
  • Assist in surgery
  • Administer medications
  • Perform rehabilitative therapies
  • Provide nursing care
  • Take X-rays of patients
  • Provide scritchies and cuddles

The Veterinary Technician’s Oath

“I solemnly dedicate myself to aiding animals and society by providing excellent care and services for animals, by alleviating animal suffering, and promoting public health.

I accept my obligations to practice my profession conscientiously and with sensitivity, adhering to the profession’s Code of Ethics, and furthering my knowledge and competence through a commitment to lifelong learning.”

AZPetVet salutes all of the hard-working Vet Techs who make a difference in animals’ lives each day! Looking for a job as a Vet Tech? We’re always hiring great team members! Send your resume to HireMe@AZPetVet.com for consideration.

Is My Pet Too Fat?

black and white cartoon of a fat catIf you’re asking the question ‘Is my pet too fat,’ the answer is probably YES. 

In the U.S., it’s estimated that 57 percent of cats and 52 percent of dogs are overweight or clinically obese.

October 10th is Pet Obesity Awareness Day, so it’s a great time for people who think their pet may be too fat to learn about the common causes of obesity in pets. Good information means you can act before excess weight negatively impacts your pet’s health, along with your heart and your wallet. Nobody needs extra vet bills.

How Pets Get FAT

Overfeeding is one of the main culprits in pet obesity – 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.

black and white cartoon dog begging for a treatKeep treats to a minimum. It’s easy to slip treats to a pet that wants your attention while you’re busy with something else.

Next it’s because they look so cute, sweet, sad.

If your pet learns you’ll reward them for a particular behavior, they’ll work it for everything they can get.

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?

Remember, 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. 

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/

You Might Have Missed These Helpful Posts

We cover lots of topics in our blog, and this summer was especially busy! Here are some of the latest posts you might have missed with some of our AZPetVet doctors:

Dogs & Sun Burn

Pet Safety at the Dog Park

Barbecues & Pets – What to Watch Out For

Desert Dangers – Keep Your Pets Safe

Want to see more from AZPetVet? Find us on Facebook and follow us on YouTube!

Summer Travel – Pets and Cars

Summer travel with pets in cars can be wonderful but it’s important to be prepared. Here are some great summer safety tips for traveling with pets in cars; brought to you by AZPetVet’s Dr. John Graham.

Tolerance Test: Are We Having Fun Yet?
Before you pack up the family and set out on the Holiday Road to WallyWorld or to visit Arizona’s wonders, be sure your pet can handle a longer car trip. Make test runs from short to medium durations, and observe them closely to see how they’re faring along the way. As members of the family, you want them to be happy and safe.

Remember long family trips? The togetherness? Everyone singing, laughing, playing games? How about being crowded into the back of the car? Fighting with your siblings because someone was touching you. Hunger. Sheer boredom. Are we there yet? What’s that smell? Needing to GO but dad says “wait until the next rest stop” and that’s approximately ONE. MILLION. MILES. AWAY. 

Now imagine you’re a dog.

While many dogs go mad with joy at the prospect of going ‘bye bye’ for a ride in the car, others will get quite stressed and anxious but calm down. Barking, pacing, whining, whimpering, or panting excessively are all clear signs that your barker needs a break. Not every car ride is a trip to the vet, but if they have general anxiety about going, check out this previous blog for tips.

Traveling In the Car
Provide access to water, food & don’t forget any meds they might need!
Bring along a familiar blanket or favorite toy.
Make sure your pet has ample space to stand and turn around.
Make frequent ‘Potty & Stretch Your Legs’ stops.
DON’T leave your pet (or children) in a hot car, even for a couple of minutes.
If your dog is prone to car sickness or anxiety, talk to your vet. We can help.

Buckle Up Means Pets, Too.
Keeping pets safely restrained is vital to everyone’s safety. In case of an accident, an unrestrained pet becomes a projectile, and can injure others or be hurt or killed, even at a relatively slow speed. Definitely not worth the risk. Use proper safety harnesses or restraints whenever you’re on the road. For small to medium sized pets, there are even specially designed pet seats with built-in harnesses, similar to cozy beds. From there, your pupper can see everything clearly and truly be … King of Road.

From everyone at AZPetVet, have a happy and safe vacation!

Valley Fever in Dogs: Risks, Symptoms and Treatment

AZPetVet’s Dr. Tressa MacLennan talks about Valley Fever in dogs with the Fox 10 Morning show team.

RISK FACTORS: Dogs are particularly prone to contracting Valley Fever as they are sniffing the soil and like to dig in the dirt, which means they could easily be exposed to the deadly spores. In rare instances, cats can also contract Valley Fever. The most common symptom in cats is non-healing skin lesions that resemble abscesses, draining tracts, or dermatitis. They can occur in almost any site on the cat’s body, and will often ooze a pale yellow to reddish fluid.

Younger and older animals are at risk. Younger animals are more susceptible to contracting Vally fever as their immune systems are not yet fully developed. Older pets’ immune systems may be weakened or compromised by aging and underlying health conditions.

Many animals will not exhibit any signs of Valley fever, even though they are infected.

DIAGNOSING VALLEY FEVER: Your veterinarian with perform a titer test to look for antibodies. Depending on the severity of infection, they may also perform advanced bloodwork and diagnostic x-rays of the lungs, limbs and other areas of the body. The fungus can also be identified through samples of fluids or tissue from the body.

SYMPTOMS PRIMARY INFECTION – LUNGS

  • Harsh or dry cough
  • Fever, lack of appetite
  • Lethargy or signs of depression

SYMPTOMS DISSEMINATED INFECTION

  • Swollen or painful bones and joints; lameness
  • Persistent fever, lack of appetite
  • Lethargy or signs of depression

PREVENTION & TREATMENT OPTIONS: There is no preventive vaccine for Valley Fever. Keep your pets away from open areas of dirt and dust as much as possible.

Dogs that develop Valley Fever will require a course of treatment with anti fungal medications. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the infection, but most cases will be managed within 6-12 months. Your pet should begin to feel better within 1-2 weeks of starting the anti fungal medications. Over the course of treatment, your vet will perform regular titer testing to determine when medication can safely be discontinued.

If the fungal infection has spread through the body, the dog may need to be on anti fungal medications for life. A small number of dogs will die from Valley Fever – most often those with advanced fungal infection that has spread through the body. The majority of animals will recover with no lasting issues. If you recognize symptoms of Valley Fever, contact your veterinarian immediately.