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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Five Ways to Celebrate National Cat Day

National Cat Cats are awesome creatures and they’re sure to keep you laughing with their antics. Cuddling is also great – but not all cats are the cuddling type. No matter – it’s National Cat Day, so here are five great ways to let your kitty know how much you care!

1/ Adopt a cat or kitten from a local shelter or rescue – there’s always a beautiful kitty in need of a good home.

2/ Make a donation to a local shelter or rescue. Food, blankets, toys, litter and other items are always in demand.

3/ Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue where you can help by cleaning cages and litter boxes, play with the cats and kittens.

4/ Buy or plant some cat grass for your furry friends. It helps them get key nutrients and minerals into their diet, aids with digestion and helps prevent the build-up of hairballs.

5/ Take some time out to play with your cat/s. Try a cat-fishing pole with a toy or feather on the end of the line, a mirror to reflect light (careful- laser pointers can cause eye damage), crumpled paper or best of all – boxes. Cats adore boxes. “If I fits, I sits.”

Do Reptiles Need Veterinary Care?

do reptiles need veterinary careOne of the most common misconceptions about exotic pets is that they don’t need veterinary care. Nothing could be further from the truth. Responsible owners of reptiles understand they are not low-maintenance pets. Reptiles require expert care throughout their lifetime, which depending on the species, could be more than 20 years! They also cannot regulate their body heat, so they will require strictly controlled environments with thermometers, heaters, humidifiers and special day and night light sources.

Snakes
Snakes need frequent veterinary checkups. Most are carnivorous, and prone to contracting any number of parasites as well as blister disease, respiratory and digestive disorders and mouth rot. Many types of snakes can live for decades and grow to more than 5-feet long. Snakes need at least a 30-gallon tank, fresh water and strictly controlled 
daytime and nighttime temperatures. Their habitats must be regularly cleaned.

Turtles & Tortoises
Turtles are water-lovers, while tortoises live on land. Domestic aquatic turtles need at least 30-gallon habitat with strictly controlled temperatures, water to swim in, an area to bask in. They eat a varied diet that includes vegetables, turtle food for extra nutrients, and in some cases, insects. The average lifespan of an aquatic turtle is 25 years.

Tortoises can live to a ripe old age, so they’re definitely a long-term commitment – especially when you realize they could outlive you. Tortoises are land dwelling herbivores who love vegetables, fruits and tortoise food. Keeping them as pets require a large environment – at least a 40-gallon tank or terrarium – with a shallow bowl of water. The temperature should be warm and humid. Be sure to check with your vet for specific requirements.

Iguanas
Green iguanas can live for more than 20 years and grow to more than 6 feet long! They’re strict vegans. Their diet is limited to a very specific range of greens and fruits. Enclosures for a full-grown iguana should be at least 18 feet long, humidified, and maintained at a particular temperature with specific timetables for periods of darkness and ultraviolet light. Iguanas are some of the most frequently abandoned pets – simply because the proper care requirements are so extensive. 

Responsible Pet Care for Reptiles
Reptiles cannot regulate their own body heat, so they need temperature and brightness-regulating devices like:

  • Humidifier to keep air warm and moist
  • Daytime lights and heat sources. Reptile tanks need a “hot side” and a “cool side” so they can regulate their body temperature. 
  • Nighttime lights and heat sources. The cool side of the tan needs infrared heat lamps for nighttime use. Some reptiles – like iguanas – also require ultraviolet light.
  • Thermometers. Get two thermometers: one for the hot side and one for the cooler side.

Reptiles Also Require These Accessories

  • Hides where they can retreat from the heat and rest
  • Food and water bowls, some need deeper water for swimming
  • Tile, newspaper, or reptile carpet bedding
  • Rocks, logs, plants, and other accessories

Human Health Risks of Reptiles
Each year approximately 70,000 people in the US contract salmonellosis from direct or indirect contact with reptiles and amphibians. Children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illness or death.

Click here for a list of AZPetVet hospitals that treat exotics and reptiles.

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

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