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Monthly Archives: January 2020

National Pet Dental Health Month Awareness

Why Pet Oral Health Check-Ups are Important

Numerous studies show a link between gum disease and severe health issues like heart disease. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream from their teeth and mouth causing pain and potentially leading to infections of your pet’s heart, kidneys, and liver.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, an excellent time to discuss the importance of pet oral health, its effect on your pet’s overall health, and best pet dental care practices at home. Let’s get right into It!

The American Animal Hospital Association’s pet oral health guidelines recommend regular examinations and dental cleanings for all adult dogs and cats starting at one year for cats and small-breed dogs, and two years of age for larger-breed dogs. Of course, this varies by individual pet, so it’s important to discuss detailed care with your veterinarian.

Only 14 percent of dogs and 9 percent of cats receive dental care at the veterinarian’s office.  – National Pet Owners survey

Pet Dental Health Tips

Symptoms of Hidden Pet Oral Health Issues 

Your pets can’t tell you directly that their teeth hurt, so you might not realize they have a serious dental issue until it’s too late. If your pet is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed, please schedule an appointment with your vet right away! 

  • Bad breath
  • Drooling more than usual 
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Discoloration/suspicious looking spots on their gums 

A dental exam is the best way to identify issues before they have a serious impact on your pet’s oral health. Your veterinarian will observe your pet’s face, gums, cheeks, and palate to identify any dental health concerns and recommend cleaning and/or specific treatment.

Brushing For Better Breath

Bad breath can indicate periodontal disease in both people and pets! Regular brushing helps keep your pet’s teeth healthier and their breath better, so those wonderful pet kisses won’t take your breath away.

Preventing Tooth Loss

Decay and gum disease can cause tooth loss in animals. This condition can be very painful and may cause serious health problems. Regular dental care saves you money in the long run and can help prevent tooth loss.

Maintaining Good Pet Oral Health

Gum disease is one of the three most common diseases in cats today.

CATS

  • Brushing your cat’s teeth daily is best, but a minimum of at least 2-3 times a week; avoid human toothpaste, but select a pet-specific kind. These will come in flavors that your pet will accept (fish and poultry). It is recommended that you ease into brushing over 1-2 months.
  • Have your vet recommend cat dental-specific treats, water additives, or other products to reduce plaque and calculus.
  • Have your vet check your cat’s teeth and gums at each visit.

Approximately four out of five dogs over the age of three have some sort of periodontal (gum) disease.

DOGS

  • Brush your pup’s teeth – daily is best, but minimum at least 2-3 times a week; avoid human toothpaste, but select a pet-specific kind. These will come in flavors that your pet will accept (fish and poultry). If your dog becomes restless while brushing the side “cheek” teeth and it appears to be painful, please have this checked out as soon as possible.
  • Your vet may recommend dog dental-specific treats, water additives, or other products to reduce plaque and calculus.
  • Have your vet check your dog’s teeth and gums at each visit.

While these are all great pet dental health tips, the bottom line is that dental health is an essential aspect of your pet’s overall well-being. Have some more specific questions? Speak with your veterinarian and ask their advice on your specific pet and plan an appropriate dental care routine–not just during National Pet Dental Health Month, but for many years to come!

Need a great vet? We have many! Visit us at AZPetVet.com to find the location nearest you.

[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats

How to Treat Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats

As various factors change in a cat’s life, it’s common to see water intake and urination levels fluctuate to suit their current needs and environmental conditions. However, if you notice your furry friend drinking a lot more water or urinating more frequently, this could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

If your cat is making more frequent trips to the litter box or cleaning out its water bowl quicker than usual, these could be signs of polyuria or polydipsia. While polyuria and polydipsia themselves are not typically an immediate cause for concern, understanding these conditions and their causes are important in helping you determine if a visit to the vet is in order.

What is Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats?

Polydipsia refers to a sharp increase in thirst levels. Polyuria is an increase in urination. While it can be challenging to identify polyuria or polydipsia in cats, the best way to recognize potential problems is to monitor your feline friend closely. Start by measuring the water that you pour into your cat’s bowl in the morning. On average, a healthy cat will take in roughly 20 to 40 milliliters of water per pound per day. By measuring your cat’s water supply at the start and end of each day, you can determine whether or not your furry friend is experiencing polydipsia.

One way to help identify polyuria in your cat is to observe the amount of wet litter inside of your cat’s litter box each day. In many cases, the cat might be experiencing an increase in urine volume caused by polyuria, and might also urinate outside the litter box. If you’re noticing more wet litter or an uncharacteristic change in your pet’s potty habits, it’s time to make a vet appointment right away.

Causes of Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats

Many factors can lead to polyuria and polydipsia in cats. However, the primary causes include congenital abnormalities, specifically those related to renal failure. Additional causes of polyuria and polydipsia in cats include:

● Diabetes
● Kidney failure
● Uterine infection
● Liver disease
● Low protein diets
● Age

How to Treat Polyuria and Polydipsia in Cats

Treating polyuria and polydipsia in cats depends on a case-by-case basis, and is determined by the severity of the situation. The primary concern is that renal or hepatic failure could be the leading cause of polyuria or polydipsia. However, if both have been ruled out as possible causes, no treatment or significant life adjustment will likely be required for your furry friend.

By themselves, polyuria and polydipsia are not necessarily an initial cause for concern. However, if symptoms continue and are combined with other behavioral changes, make an appointment to have your cat evaluated by a veterinary professional right away.

Need a good vet? Visit AZPetVet.com/locations to find one near you!

[Disclaimer]
Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Change a Pet’s Life Day January 24th

Five Ways to Change a Pet’s Life Without Adopting

Winning the lottery would be an incredible, life-changing event for anyone. Most of us have dreamed about what it would be like to win the lottery and what we would do with the money. For a homeless animal in a rescue or shelter, however, winning the lottery is really simple and heartwarming. For these vulnerable animals, finding and becoming a part of a fur-ever family is the most life-changing event imaginable.

Every year on January 24th, Change a Pet’s Life Day is celebrated to support and encourage pet adoption. There are many wonderful ways you can help Change a Pet’s Life all year round – even if you’re not ready to adopt. Many of these actions help prepare animals to become loving members of a new home. We hope you’ll consider adopting our suggestions (OK, and a pet or two won’t hurt either).

1. Foster a Pet – not ready to make the commitment to adoption? Consider a trial run by fostering, which helps shelters and rescues free up resources and space. Fostering also helps homeless animals increase their chances of finding a permanent home.

2. Sponsor a Shelter Dog or Cat – many shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries will allow you to sponsor a specific dog or cat, and that’s life-changing for them. You could also sponsor an adoption fee for another family to adopt a pet.

3. Make a Charitable Donation – most animal shelters and rescues are non-profits, so they rely on donations from animal lovers to help them to operate. Your charitable contributions help ensure food, medical care such as spaying/neutering, vaccinations, microchips, and prepare for a future life in a loving home.

4. Volunteer at a Shelter or Rescue – becoming a volunteer at a local organization is fun and fulfilling and so appreciated. Volunteers help prepare pets for adoption and free up staff for other tasks. Volunteers can walk or play with dogs and provide love and attention to help with socialization, so pups become more adoptable.

5. Become a Social Media Sharer – make sharing posts about dogs or cats in need on your Facebook a habit. Sharing the posts from animal organizations like pet rescues and shelters exposes adoptable dogs and cats to a wider audience – which means more chances for viewers to fall in love, share or even adopt. This one small act can Change a Pet’s Life forever!

What is Cushing’s Disease in Dogs?

Hyperadrenocorticism AKA Cushing’s Disease

Hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease, occurs when the adrenal glands become overstimulated and produce too much cortisol, more commonly known as the stress hormone. At normal levels, the hormone cortisol helps regulate the immune system, body weight, skin, tissue, and stress. Too much cortisol can weaken the immune system and lead to many health problems.

As an endocrine system disorder, Cushing’s disease occurs in people and other species. While it’s one of the most common endocrine disorders in dogs, it’s relatively rare in cats. Learn about the causes, the symptoms, and treatment for Cushing’s disease in dogs.

Causes of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s disease generally affects middle-aged to older animals. The disease develops when a dog’s adrenal glands begin to overproduce the hormone cortisol. The majority of dogs diagnosed with Cushing’s disease (around 80-90 percent) will have a benign (noncancerous) tumor in their pituitary gland causing the disease, known as Pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease. Most of the remaining Cushing’s cases in dogs will be Adrenal-dependent Cushing’s disease, which is caused by a tumor on one of the adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys. Although Cushing’s syndrome can take on multiple forms, what they each have in common is the overproduction of cortisol. No matter the cause, the adrenal glands become enlarged, which makes sense since they’re getting quite a workout!

In rare cases, iatrogenic Cushing’s disease can be caused by long-term use or high doses of steroids like prednisone, cortisone or other medications for allergies, autoimmune disorders, and inflammation in the joints or body. This form of Cushing’s disease can develop in dogs at any age.

Many other health conditions have symptoms that are similar to those of Cushing’s disease in dogs. That’s why it’s important for your dog to have regular wellness exams, along with any lab work and screenings recommended by your vet.

Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s disease shares many of the same symptoms associated with a large number of other health conditions, so it’s best to make an appointment to see your veterinarian for further examination. In order to reach a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease, the vet will need to perform several diagnostic tests.

Common symptoms associated with Cushing’s disease in dogs may include:

  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
  • Frequent accidents or need to urinate at night
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased panting
  • Fatty pads around the neck and shoulders
  • Pot-belly or distended abdomen
  • Obesity or unexplained weight gain
  • Hair loss along the back and/or tail
  • Lack of energy, generally lethargic
  • Recurring skin or urinary tract infections
  • Muscle weakness
  • Darkening of the skin
  • Thin skin that bruises easily

Treatment of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

In most cases, medications that regulate the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream can help successfully manage Cushing’s disease in dogs for years to come. In others, surgery may be required. In rare cases, it can be fatal. Since there is no way to prevent Cushing’s disease, establishing a regular veterinary care routine that includes an appropriate blood-screening schedule with your vet is critical. The earlier the diagnosis, the better chance you’ll have a wider, variety of treatment options. Finally, if you have questions about Cushing’s syndrome or your dog’s health, give your vet a call.

[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Holiday Drive Results – Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds

This holiday season one of the organizations we had the pleasure of working with again was Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds. Thanks to the love and support from team members, vendor partners, and of course, our wonderful clients, we were able to handoff so many donations of much needed items that will make a difference in our community.

The donations filled more than 21 boxes – topping 1400 items – with everything from toys and treats, to beds, strollers, towels and grooming supplies. We collected enough dog and cat food – both dry and canned – as well as pet clothing and blankets to help ensure that the volunteers with the non-profit would have supplies to help with the January and February colder temperatures here in the valley.

In addition to all the items collected during the drive, AZPetVet partners were able to provide a check for $2,100 to support Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds continue their great work within our community. We are thrilled that we had this opportunity again this year to partner with such a caring non-profit organization. Thank you again to all the hands and hearts that contributed this year; together, we have made a difference!