Tag Archives: dog

Goodbye Summer – Hello, Fall!

It’s been a long, hot summer. That’s nothing unusual for Arizona, of course! We’ve shared a lot of tips over the past few months about keeping pets safe and healthy during the summer months. At the close of September, we’d like to take some time to look back at some of the pet safety tips you may have missed.

The Signs of Heatstroke in Pets

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

Dr. Amy Schomburg on Your Life Arizona

Monsoon Menace: Sonoran Toads & What Pet Owners Need to Know

4 Keys Ways to Boat Safely With Pets

Valley Fever in Dogs: Risks, Symptoms & Treatment

Pets & Pool Safety With Dr. John Graham

Why Pets Need Vaccinations

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Summer Pet Safety Tips – Pet Safety at the Park

A trip to the dog park is something that nearly every dog looks forward to! With the hot summer temperatures continuing well into September, it’s important to make sure your dog stays safe and well hydrated. AZPetVet’s Dr. Elizabeth Glicksman shares some insights and things to consider when visiting the dog park.

Beware of Parvo exposure – keep pets away from feces, and always pick up and dispose of their poop – it’s just good dog park manners! Parvovirus is very contagious and a serious illness that can cause lifelong damage to the heart muscle or even kill your pet. Puppies, adolescent dogs and canines who are not vaccinated are most susceptible to the virus. Make certain your pets are current on all shots before they are exposed to other dogs. Symptoms of parvovirus include lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, and foul-smelly or bloody diarrhea.

Make sure your pet is not getting overheated and stays well-hydrated. Watch where they’re getting water – if it’s not fresh, it could be contaminated. Leptospirosis bacteria could be lurking!

Bring fresh water from home to the park along with a collapsible bowl, reusable bottle or other convenient receptacle. Keep it in the fridge and grab it just before you go – your dog will love the cool water on a hot day!

Be a good pet parent – this means being aware of your dog’s location at all times and ready to intervene if they’re acting aggressive or agitated.

Remember it’s a great way for you and your pet to get outside, meet new friends and have fun!

Summer Pet Safety: Dogs & Sunburn

Did you know that dogs can get sunburned just like us? Everything from breed type, to hair length, to even hair color can impact sun safety for pets. From keeping them in the shade, to applying sunscreen and other sun-protection, AZPetVet’s Dr. John Graham shares some helpful tips on protecting your furry friends from the intense rays of the sun with Gina and the Your Life Arizona viewers.

There are a variety of ways to provide sun protection to your pets, but each is an individual, so you’ll need to find the right combination of protective measures that they’ll tolerate. For instance, doggy sun hats, sun glasses and sun suits are a great option for many dogs, but while some dogs are fine with clothing items and accessories, others hate them. It’s a trial and error situation, so test them out before you buy.

Always provide plenty of shade (and lots of fresh water) for pets that spend time outdoors. Try to keep them out of direct sunlight from around 9 am until 4 pm.

Remember, if the pavement is too hot for your hands or feet to touch, it’s too hot for their paws. Elevated beds with sun shades can help keep pets off the pavement and cooler.

Sunscreen – ask your vet about sunscreens formulated especially for pets. Caution – what’s safe for dogs may not be for cats. Ask your vet’s advice.

The areas on a dog that need the most protection are the nose, tips of ears, belly, the tip of the tail and, depending on the breed, the eyelids and around the mouth.  

The first and most obvious sign of sunburn on a dog is redness of the skin. It will also be tender to the touch. Signs of dog sunburn to watch for:

  • Dry, cracked or curled edges on the ears
  • Skin ulcers and/or infected sores
  • Some dogs may run a slight fever

If your dog suffers from sunburn, it’s best to get them checked by the vet.

Why Do Pets Need Vaccinations?

Pets need vaccinationsLike people, pets need vaccinations to stay healthy and to help prevent communicable diseases.

Vaccinations help prevent many illnesses that can affect pets. There are different vaccines for different diseases, as well as different types and combinations of vaccines. Vaccination have risks and benefits that must be weighed for every pet, depending on factors like age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle.

Most vets recommend administering core vaccines to healthy pets, however, not every pet needs to be vaccinated against every disease. Talk with your veterinarian about a vaccination protocol that’s right for your pet, and in compliance with your state and local laws. Each state has its own laws governing the administration of the rabies vaccine. Some require yearly rabies vaccination, while other areas call for rabies vaccines to be administered every three years. In almost all states, proof of rabies vaccination is mandatory.

Understanding How Vaccines Work
Vaccines help prepare the immune system to fight disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which are similar in structure to the disease-causing organism but don’t actually cause the disease. The vaccine enters the body to mildly stimulate the immune system to fight the ‘disease’. If a pet is exposed to the real disease, the immune system is prepared to destroy the disease-causing organism entirely or reduce the severity and duration of the illness.

Vaccinations for Puppies 
Puppies receive antibodies while nursing, if their mother has a healthy immune system. Puppies should receive a series of vaccinations starting at six to eight weeks of age. Your veterinarian should administer a minimum of three vaccinations at three- to four-week intervals. The final dose should be administered at 16 weeks of age.

Core Vaccinations for Dogs
Some adult dogs may receive certain vaccines annually, while other vaccines might be given every three years or so. Your veterinarian will provide guidance.

Vaccines for canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk and lifestyle. Non-core vaccines include Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria.

Vaccinations For Kittens
Kittens receive antibodies while nursing, if their mother has a healthy immune system. Once the kitten is around six to eight weeks of age, your veterinarian should administer a series of vaccines at three- or four-week intervals until the kitten reaches 16 weeks of age.

Core Vaccinations for Cats
Vaccines for panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the cat’s lifestyle. These include vaccines to protect against feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chlamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus. Adult cats might be revaccinated annually or every three years.

Your veterinarian can help determine what vaccines are best for your pet. Don’t forget, AZPetVet offers a FREE Vaccines for Life program that can help keep your pet healthy and protected for life, and save you some $$ along the way. (Use the savings for healthy treats and toys – they deserve it!)

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.