Author Archives: Andrew Leger

Avoid Springtime Pet Hazards like Fleas & Ticks & AZ Rattlesnake Season

Spring in the Desert: Fleas, Rattlesnakes and Poison Prevention

Springtime is an excellent time to get outside to enjoy the sun and warmer weather with friends, family, and your furry companions. However, as exciting as spring can be, it also can come with numerous health and safety concerns that can be detrimental to the wellbeing of your pet. As we begin to dip our toes into the spring season, now is a great time to brush up on the various seasonal hazards that may put your furry friend at risk.

Spring Cleaning

Spring offers a wonderful opportunity to start the season off fresh with many folks tackling some heavy-duty cleaning! However, as you’re getting into every nook and cranny in your house, be sure to keep your pet’s health top of mind at all times. Cleaners and chemicals – even the organic ones – can contain harmful ingredients that can cause damage to your furry friend’s health. When cleaning your house, try not to use cleaners or chemicals in areas and on surfaces where your pet likes to hang out. In addition to mindful use, properly storing your cleaning materials will also help to keep your pet safe. Animal poison prevention is vital when spring cleaning your space. If you suspect that your furry friend has ingested poisonous substances, be sure to contact your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

Make a note of the number: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435.

Seasonal Critters

Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy the springtime – this warmer season also brings out a variety of critters that also enjoy basking in the sunshine. As Arizonans know, this time of year draws out snakes from their cozy hibernation quarters underground. While not all snakes are dangerous, pet owners need to be prepared for Arizona’s rattlesnake season. An encounter with one of these creatures can be deadly for your furry friend. Always be aware of your surroundings and where you step while on walks or hiking with your beloved pet.

Along with snakes, the warm weather also brings out an abundance of bugs – including mosquitoes. To help keep your pet safe, be sure to maintain your furry friend’s heartworm preventative medicine and be aware of the early signs of heartworm disease in dogs and cats.

Remember, being outside and going on walks increase your pet’s chances of having bugs hitch a ride on them – including fleas and ticks. On top of using medications prescribed by your vet to help prevent fleas and ticks, be sure to regularly check your pup’s body for these critters after being outside.

Allergy Season

Springtime in Arizona means different fruits and veggies are in season, as well as various plants blooming. Yes, it’s true – pets can have allergies too. Common allergies for pets include various foods, pollen, plants, and even dust. Just like their human counterparts, your furry friend’s allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms can include sniffling or wheezing, while severe symptoms can be as life-threatening as anaphylactic shock. Watch your pets for signs of allergies so you can take the necessary steps to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. If you have questions about allergies, talk with your vet.

Springtime offers countless opportunities to create cherished memories under the sun, as the warmer weather beckons you and your furry friend outside. As exciting as this time of year can be, it’s still essential to make your pet’s health and safety your number one priority. Be on the lookout for health risks that can come into contact with your pet. Seasonal allergies, cleaning materials, and desert critters can all put a damper on this season for both you and your pet. Utilizing early prevention tools, along with being aware of your environment, can help to ensure your springtime is a blast.

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.

February Dental Health Month Awareness

Why Dental Care is Important For Pets

The American Animal Hospital Association guidelines recommend regular examinations and dental cleanings for all adult dogs and cats annually starting at one year for cats and small-breed dogs, and at two years of age for larger-breed dogs. However, a National Pet Owners survey found that only 14 percent of dogs and 9 percent of cats receive dental care at the veterinarian’s office. Because of this, it’s estimated that four out of five dogs over the age of three have some sort of periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is one of the three most common diseases in cats today.

Numerous studies show a link between gum disease and serious health issues such as heart disease. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream from their teeth and mouth, leading to potential infections of your pet’s heart, lung, kidneys, liver, and nervous system.

As we are approaching National Pet Dental Health Awareness Month (coming up in February), this is a great time for us to discuss the importance of dental health in pets, its effect on their overall health, and best dental care practices at home. Without further ado, let’s get right into It!

Brushing For Better Breath

Bad breath can be an indicator of periodontal disease in people and in 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.

Symptoms of Hidden Dental Problems

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 drooling more than usual, has bleeding gums, loose teeth, or suspicious looking spots on their gums, schedule an appointment right away! A dental exam is the best way to identify issues before they have a serious impact on your pet’s health. Your veterinarian will observe your pet’s face, their gums, cheeks, palate, and bite patterns to isolate dental health concerns and recommend cleaning and/or treatment.

Dental Hygiene for Cats and Dogs

Wondering what you can do to help your pet’s dental health? Here are some tips to help get you started!

CATS

  • Brush your cat’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). 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 help reduce plaque and calculus.
  • Have your vet check your cat’s teeth and gums at each visit.

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.
  • Have your vet recommend dog dental-specific treats, water additives or other products to help reduce plaque and calculus.
  • Have your vet check your dog’s teeth and gums at each visit. While these are all great tips, the bottom line is that dental health is a very important 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 Pet Dental Health Awareness Month, but for many years to come!

Need a great vet? We have many! Visit us at www.AZPetVet.com and 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.