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Monthly Archives: September 2016

World Rabies Day – September 28


From the Arizona Department of Health Services:

“Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system, causing encephalitis. It is always fatal once symptoms appear. Rabies can be prevented in persons who have come into contact or have been bitten by wild animals through prompt administration of anti-rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin. Hundreds of rabies post exposure prophylactic treatments are initiated annually in Arizona to prevent rabies from developing after exposure.

In Arizona, the principal rabies hosts are bats, skunks, and foxes. These animals carry their own distinct rabies virus variants or “strains”. When rabies activity within these animal groups increases, rabies can “spillover” into other mammal species, such as bobcats, coyotes, javelina, cats, dogs, horses, cows, etc. Every year, approximately 30 people are exposed to rabid animals in Arizona. People who are exposed must receive vaccine and anti-rabies serum treatment to prevent infection.

In Arizona, bats present the most common source of rabies exposures to humans because rabid bats often fall to the ground where they are easily accessible to people and pets. Bats are generally not aggressive. Exposure to rabid bats usually occurs when people pick up or handle a sick or dead bat. Other rabies exposures occur when people try to approach or feed wild animals, or in some cases, are attacked by rabid animals such as foxes, bobcats, and skunks. Most rabies exposures can be avoided by simply leaving bats and other wild animals alone.”

What are the Symptoms of Rabies?
The first symptoms in humans are very flu-like, and can present themselves in 2 to 10 weeks. Symptoms may progress to include anxiety, confusion, insomnia, paranoia, and sometimes even hydrophobia (the fear of water).

How can we prevent Rabies?
A simple vaccine from your vet will help ensure the health of you and your pet. Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and others should be vaccinated.

It’s Happy Cat Month!

happy-catIt’s Happy Cat Month!

Cats are curious creatures – so it’s important to provide them with lots of engaging activities that satisfy their stalking instinct and keep them stimulated. Since September is Happy Cat Month, we have a few tips to making sure your feline friend stays happy and healthy!

1/ Keep them indoors – cats do not need to go outdoors to be happy. There are plenty of opportunities to entertain cats inside the safety of the home – plus it minimizes the chance of finding a slaughtered bird, mouse or snake in the middle of your floor, or worse, tucked into your bed as some kind of kitty “love offering”.

2/ Invest in a cat tree and place it next to a sunny window. Cats love to climb, and they love sunning themselves even more. Placing a cat tree in your home allows your cat/s to get exercise, stretch and climb, and enjoy “cat TV” by looking out the window.

3/ Play with your cat every day. It’s no secret that cats love to stalk, chase and pounce – whether it’s fishing and toys with bells, cardboard boxes or paper bags, cats will find a way to amuse themselves and keep you laughing at the same time! Provide a variety of toys to keep them on their toes!

4/ But or plant a container of cat grass. Cats love to graze on grass – it’s a delectable treat that’s typically oats, barley or wheat. You can buy or plant a container of cat grass that’s easily accessible. It helps satisfy their craving for fresh greens while providing trace vitamins and minerals they may not be getting from regular food. It adds fiber to the diet, aids digestion, and helps reduce hairballs.

5/ Always, always keep the litter box clean and fresh. When it comes to the bathroom, cats are neat freaks. Seriously, who wants to step into a dirty box full of waste? Don’t wait until they throw litter all over the room to let you know their toilet needs cleaning. Litter boxes should always be kept fresh as possible – scoop daily or every other day to help keep your cat healthy and happier – we guarantee you’ll be happier, too!

Animal Pain Awareness Month

We all believe we’d know if something were wrong with our pets, but the truth is, many of us will miss the signals. Would you recognize the most common signs that indicate your pet is in pain?

Behavioral and other changes are the ways our animals communicate to us that there is something wrong and they need help. According to the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, there are many options available to treat pain in animals including: pain medications, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, laser therapy, and therapeutic massage.


Common Signs of Pain in Dogs

  • Decreased social interaction
  • Anxious expression
  • Submissive behavior
  • Refusal to move
  • Whimpering
  • Howling
  • Growling
  • Guarding behavior
  • Aggression; biting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Self-mutilation (chewing)
  • Changes in posture

Common Signs of Pain in Cats

  • Reduced activity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Quiet/loss of curiosity
  • Changes in urinary/defecation habits
  • Hiding
  • Hissing or spitting
  • Lack of agility/jumping
  • Excessive licking/grooming
  • Stiff posture/gait
  • Guarding behavior
  • Stops grooming/matted fur
  • Tail flicking
  • Weight loss

If your pet is exhibiting one or more of these behaviors, it’s best to take them in for a wellness exam. Your vet can provide insight into what’s happening, and discuss your treatment options.

– Source: International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management –




Being a Responsible Pet Owner

heart and leashPets are wonderful additions to our lives, however, it’s important to understand the responsibilities of being a pet owner before you adopt an animal. Here are some tips:

There are millions of homeless animals, including many “purebred” – adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue organization.

Avoid impulsive decisions – puppies and kittens are adorable and it can be hard to resist them. Make a considered decision and carefully choose the type of pet that is best suited to your home and your lifestyle.

Once you’re ready to make the commitment, remember it’s a relationship for the life of the pet.

Owning a pet means you must invest your time and money to care for the animal.

Provide a safe and appropriate environment that includes quality food, shelter, and vet care.

Microchip or tattoo your animal/s in addition to providing collar and tags, and remember to keep the registration information up to date.

Become familiar with local ordinances, including licensing and leash requirements, waste disposal, and noise control.

Spay/neuter your pets – it not only helps the animal overpopulation problem, but can also help prevent or modify undesirable behaviors like marking and roaming.

Find a good local veterinary clinic to provide regular care and check ups for your pet/s, including annual vaccinations and preventive care.

Train your pet or engage with a trainer to establish good behavior patterns. Socialization is also important for pets. Regular trips to the local bark park, daily walks and introducing visitors to the home are all good exercises for socialization.

Make sure your pet/s get regular exercise and mental stimulation through toys and play that is appropriate to the age, breed and health of the animal/s.responsible pet owner 1

Be prepared for emergencies or disasters. Assemble an evacuation kit that includes leashes, bowls, food, water, medications and other items to ensure your pet/s well-being. Place an “in case of emergency” sticker on a window or door of your home or apartment to alert emergency workers to the presence, number and type of pet/s inside.

Appoint a designated caregiver that is willing to take care of your pet/s in case you can’t.

All good things must come to an end, as the old saying goes. While it’s never easy to lose a beloved pet, be watchful for signs of declining quality of life. Consult with your vet and make a plan for appropriate end-of-life care (i.e., palliative care, hospice, euthanasia). The time you’ve invested in being a responsible pet owner is well worth it – you can thank your pet for the years of love and laughter by letting them go in a loving, caring and peaceful environment.