Tag Archives: veterinary services

Desert Dangers – Summer Safety For Pets

While the desert landscape can be incredibly breathtaking, it can also be very dangerous to our pets. From snake bites to scorpion stings, cactus injuries and more, it’s important to stay vigilant as a pet parent. AZPetVet’s Dr. Amy Schomburg shares some symptoms to look for, as well as some helpful treatment suggestions with Gina and the Your Life Arizona viewers.

Symptoms of Snake Bite

  • Change in Gum Color (Brick Red or Pale)
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Rapid Breathing & Heart Rate
  • Continuous Licking of Paws
  • Digging at Ears
  • Oozing From Puncture Wound
  • Collapse From Shock

Get to the vet immediately! Dogs must be treated for snake bite within four hours of the bite for best chance of recovery. Remove collars and halters if swelling is occurring near the head or limbs.

Symptoms of Scorpion Sting

  • Pain
  • Localized Swelling
  • Smaller dogs can experience seizures

Foxtails & Cactus

If your dog comes in contact with a cactus, try gently pulling the barbs out with a pair of pliers. Foxtail can be quite dangerous to pets, as the barbed seed heads can work their way into your dogs eyes, ears, mouth, paws or skin. Left untreated, they can cause serious infection.

Not sure what to do? When in doubt, seek help from your veterinarian.

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!)

Summer Pet Safety Tips – Pool Safety

Just like with kids, you should never leave pets unattended around the pool!
AZPetVet’s Dr. John Graham shares a few summer pool pet safety tips with Gina and the Your Life Arizona viewers.

Water Safety 
A pool is a wonderful way to beat the heat, but like children, animals should never be left unsupervised around water. Don’t assume your dog is a good swimmer or won’t go into the pool. The pool can be just as tempting for pets as it is for humans! If your dog jumps into the pool or falls in while you’re away from home, they might not be able to get out on their own.

If you can’t block their access to the pool, take time to work with them in the water. In order to pool-proof your pet, introduce them to the water gradually, and make sure they know how to get out.

As they swim, use your body and hands to direct them to swim the steps or a shallow area where they can safely get out or wait for help. Practice “swimming to the steps” with your pet until they are able to get out of the pool unaided. Plenty of praise and encouragement can help reinforce this safety lesson. If they accidentally fall in when nobody is around, this training can mean the difference between life and death.

For dogs that love to swim, be sure to rinse their coats after swimming to remove chlorine or salt. And while it may be a losing battle, try to keep your dog from drinking pool water – the chemicals can upset their tummy.

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.

Four Key Ways to Boat Safely With Pets

Rhodesian ridgeback wearing a sailor outfit and a life preserverSummer is definitely the time to take the boat out and head for the lake. Whether it’s a day trip or longer, if you plan to boat safely with pets, there are some things you need to do first to ensure their safety and comfort.

1/ Plan, Plan, Plan! You’ll need to pack all the basics for your pet. Puppy pads for potty breaks, toys, treats and food, a water bowl, any medications they might need, and health records in case of an emergency, especially if your trip is an extended one. If you haven’t chipped your pet, now is a great time to do it. 

2/ Invest in a Doggy Life Jacket. State law requires a life jacket for everyone on board a vessel. While it doesn’t specifically mention dogs, your pet is a member of your family, so why wouldn’t you protect them, too? It’s tempting to just order a life vest online to save time and money. Problem is – dogs come in so many shapes, weights and sizes, you’d be better served by making a trip to a sporting good or pet store to test it out for size and fit. Make the trip – it’ll save you lots of hassle in the long run, and it might even save your pet’s life! Introduce them to wearing the life vest before you go on the boat – trust us on this one.

3/ Make a Test Run. Not all dogs are going to be comfortable on a boat, so it’s wise to keep the first outing a short one.  Allow your dog to get acclimated on the boat BEFORE you head for water, or while you are still docked. Once you’re on the water, watch your dog carefully for signs of sea/motion sickness. Symptoms of motion sickness include: 

  • Inactivity
  • Listlessness
  • Uneasiness
  • Yawning or panting
  • Whining
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting (even on an empty stomach)

4/ The Heat is a Hazard! Be sure your pet has access to shade on the boat and plenty of clean, fresh water. Dogs are more prone to heatstroke and will need to stay hydrated, so know the signs. More information on heat stroke in pets.