Author Archives: AZPetVet

Can Certain Snails Really Sleep for 3 Years? 

Let’s Learn Exactly How Some Snails Sleep

At first glance, you may not assume that land snails live very fascinating lives. However, these gastropods live quite unique lifestyles. These animals are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs. They have no sense of hearing, and salt is potentially toxic for them. However, one of the most interesting aspects of their life is how they sleep. Exactly, how long can certain snails sleep for? You may be surprised by the answer. 

How Long Can Snails Sleep?

Certain land snails can sleep for up to three years in hibernation or estivation. Yes, it’s true!  Although this extended nap may sound appealing at first, it is actually caused by less-than-ideal conditions. 

Why Do Snails Sleep So Long?

Snails need moisture to survive; so if the weather is not cooperating, they can actually sleep up to three years. It has been reported that depending on geography, snails can shift into hibernation (which occurs in the winter), or estivation (also known as ‘summer sleep’), helping to escape warm climates. During this time, the snails will secrete mucus over their bodies to protect themselves from the dry, hot weather. As glamorous as it may sound, snails don’t always sleep for three years in their own mucus. When the weather is just right, snails do tend to follow a pretty regular sleeping schedule.  

Does A Snails Sleep Schedule Differ From Humans?

Unlike humans, snails don’t abide by the rules of night and day. Generally, snails will sleep on and off in between periods of 13 to 15 hours. Afterwards, they experience a sudden jolt of energy for the next 30 hours, where they get all their snail chores done! 

How Can You Tell If a Snail Is Asleep?

It can be pretty tough to determine whether or not a snail is sleeping, considering they don’t show any obvious signs such as having their eyes closed or snoring. However, there are still a few simple ways that can help you tell whether or not a snail is sleeping:

  • The shell may hang away from their body slightly
  • Relaxed foot
  • Tentacles appear withdrawn a little 

It may be easy to assume that the gastropod is dead, but don’t jump to conclusions when you see an immobile snail in the garden — it may just be taking a power nap. 

How Do You Brush a Cat’s Teeth?

The Best Ways To Care For Your Feline’s Adult Cat Teeth

How Many Teeth Do Domestic Cats Have?

Cats have 30 adult teeth and 26 baby teeth. Regular brushing at home combined with dental cleanings at the vet help to reduce the presence of plaque and tartar, both which kickstart inflammation and potential diseases. So how can you tell when your cat needs a good clean? 

As gross as it may seem, the smell of your cat’s breath is either a good indication of proper oral hygiene or prospective disease. Feline halitosis (as bad breath is scientifically referred to) can be caused by many different things. Most common is periodontal disease, a build-up of plaque that irritates the gums and can lead to infection. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar, serving as a formidable base on which more plaque builds up. 

Is Bad Breath an Indication of a Bigger Problem? 

Although bad breath in cats doesn’t always mean something’s awry, bad breath can sometimes serve as a warning symptom for a much more significant health problem. If the root of the (tooth) problem is caused by oral cancers, this can severely impact both the comfort and life span of your cat.  

The smell of your cat’s breath can also predict conditions that extend beyond the surface of the mouth. A urine or ammonia smell coming from your cat’s mouth may signal kidney disease which requires professional care, so it’s best to take your cat into your local veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

Brushing Habits

So, how often should you brush your cat’s teeth? Ideally, to prevent decay and infection a cat’s teeth should be brushed just as often as human teeth. We understand that daily brushing can seem unattainable and unrealistic – especially if you want to avoid invading your cat’s personal space and risking their wrath every night before bed! So, as a supplement to regular brushing, you can consider dental cleansing treats; just be sure to discuss these with your veterinarian to ensure they are an acceptable part of your pet’s individual diet.  

Preventative Care

During a cat’s annual health check-up, veterinarians will check your pet’s teeth and gums for signs of disease. Looking at their gums for redness, yellow tinting, swelling, bleeding, and inflammation can help your veterinarian rule out gingivitis, liver disease, and poor oral care. Many domestic cats don’t get regular veterinary care until they are injured, or they show definite signs of being sick, so be sure to help keep your pet in good health with once-a-year wellness exams. Remember, your pet can’t tell you their teeth hurt, and cats are notorious for hiding pain. Don’t wait until your pet is clearly in pain or distress before bringing them in!

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke in Your Pet, How to Avoid, and Steps of Recovery

Preventing and Recognizing Heat Stroke in Your Pets

Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for pets and people.
Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises dangerously
above normal, putting them at risk for multiple organ failure or death.
Unlike humans, who have sweat glands all over our bodies, cats and dogs
have very few sweat glands – they’re located in places such as their feet and
noses. As summer rolls around and temperatures continue to rise, you’ll
notice your pets panting more to regulate their body heat.

Since our beloved pets are more susceptible to heat stroke than us, we need
to be aware of the signs and symptoms so we can keep our furry friends safe.
Early recognition, and treatment of heat stroke can improve your pet’s
chances of making a quick recovery. Symptoms of heat stroke in pets include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums
  • Reduced or no urine production
  • Rapid/irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting blood/black, tarry stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in mental status (i.e., confusion and dizziness)
  • Seizures/muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
  • Unconsciousness/Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)

Seek Treatment for A Full Recovery

At the first sign of overheating, it’s essential to take steps to cool your pet
down gradually. Do NOT use ice or frigid water as it can cause shock and
other undesirable reactions. Here are some measures to take if you suspect
your animal is suffering from heat stroke:
1. Remove your animal from the heat immediately. Take your animal
inside or find some shade to allow them to cool off.

2. Spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cold, wet towels and
use a fan for convection cooling.

3. Evaporative cooling can also be used by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on
foot pads, groin and under the forelegs.

4. MOST importantly, seek veterinary care and guidance as soon as
possible!

Even if your furry friend seems to be feeling better and starts acting normal
again, it is still crucial to take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary
clinic. Vets will be able to determine the severity of the heat stroke and
provide the appropriate medical treatment. This can include medication,
cooling procedures, supplemental oxygen, and blood tests. Additional
monitoring may be required to ensure your beloved pet is back in tip-top
health.

Unfortunately, since our pets can’t communicate their exact feelings to us, we
need to be alert and aware of all of the signs of heat stroke in dogs and cats.
In case of an emergency, we need to be knowledgeable about the steps to
take for pet heat stroke recovery. Once we educate ourselves on the
symptoms, we can have a fun and safe summer with our furry companions.

 

How Many Breeds of Domestic and Wild Cats Are Out There?

Quick tips for identifying a cat’s breed, whether domestic or wild.

While many pet owners tend to know the general breed of their animals, cat breeds
can be particularly difficult to pinpoint. Why exactly are they so difficult to identify?

Overall, cat classifications vary from database to database, making it difficult to
determine just how many breeds of cats there are and what constitutes each breed.
Altogether, there are roughly 100 breeds of domestic cats and approximately 40
breeds of wild cats. Here are a few tips on how to tell your cat’s breed:

Coat length – Most of these beloved pets can be grouped into two categories: long
haired or short haired. From here, your furry friend can be placed into subcategories
based on coat color and pattern. Long hairs can include a variety of breeds such as
Himalayan, Ragdoll, and Maine Coon. Short hairs can consist of breeds such as Manx,
Bombay, and Bengal.

Fur pattern and color – Your cat’s coat pattern and color can be a significant
identifying factor when trying to determine the ancestral history of your pet.
Patterns can be displayed in a wide variety of colors, including calico, tabby, and
tortoise.

Tortoiseshell coats can include red, black, cream, orange, gold, and white colors.
Affectionately referred to as “torties,” this pattern can be found on a variety of breeds
such as Cornish Rex, Persian, and British Shorthair.

Calico cats have coats that are mostly white with patches of orange, black, cream
and gray. This pattern can include breeds such as Scottish Fold, Persian, and Maine
Coon.

Despite what some pet-owners may think, tabby is actually not a breed. Tabby refers
to the cat’s coat pattern which can display dots, lines, swirling patterns or stripes —
all of which come together to form a distinct “M” shape on its forehead. Its fur can
include brown, black, red, silver, red and cream colors. This pattern can be found on
breeds such as Siberian, American Curl, and Australian Mist.

Facial structure – For the most part, a cat’s bone structure will fall under three
categories: triangle, round, and square. Siamese and Cornish Rex can be identified
by their famously triangular face that gives them sharper features. Felines with
round faces can include Singapura, Exotic Shorthair, and Burmilla. Square faces can
be found on breeds such as the Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon.

While dogs have been bred for various purposes such as hunting, racing, and
herding animals, cats were not bred with the intent to serve humans. Cats were
primarily made to chase mice and look adorable. Due to this, although the exact
number of domestic and wild cat breeds is still unknown, there are still far fewer
recognized breeds of cats than there are dogs.

A recent study shows that cats actually came to domesticate themselves. Since mice
and other rodents were attracted to the agricultural crops created by humans, the
ancient ancestors of our beloved pets likely came into contact with humans daily.
Another lineage of cats from Egypt suggests that humans were intrigued by their
personalities and attitudes — just as we are today.

Cat-owners can agree that some of the most popular breeds include American
Shorthair, Siamese, and Maine Coons. However, if you fancy befriending a rare feline,
some of the more rare breeds include Burmilla, Peterbald, and Serengeti. However,
no matter how popular or unusual your breed of cat is — it will still come with its own
unique and quirky personality that you will be sure to love.

Do Dogs Need a Flu Shot? Combatting Dog Flu in Arizona

Combatting Dog Flu in Arizona: What to Know About Flu Shots for Dogs

Cases of dog flu in Arizona have been in the news recently, with some limited
outbreaks recorded in Northern Arizona. Naturally, we’ve had a lot of calls from
concerned pet parents. We totally get it. Our pets are beloved family members. With
these outbreaks, some of us are left asking: do dogs need a flu shot? Or worse, does
my dog have the flu?

Since we happen to have more than 100 knowledgeable veterinarians within our
AZPetVet family, we decided to ask Dr. Chris Hummel from Westbrook Animal
Hospital to answer the most frequently asked questions about the dog flu in Arizona.

Q: Is dog flu the same as people flu?

No. From a viral standpoint, dog flu is NOT the same as people flu. The two strains of
Canine Influenza viruses found in the United States are H3N8 which researchers
believe originated in horses, and N3N2 which is likely of avian origin imported
directly from Asia. In very rare cases the dog flu virus has been known to infect cats,
but the flu poses little risk to cats beyond a runny nose, coughing and/or sneezing.

People don’t get dog flu, and dogs don’t get people flu. However, in people and in
dogs, there’s a gap between being exposed to the flu virus and developing
symptoms. That’s why we’ll so often see outbreaks happen in clusters. Somebody is
contagious and doesn’t know it until it’s too late; then suddenly everyone is sick.

From the American Veterinary Medical Association:
“H3N8 has an incubation period of 1 to 5 days, with clinical signs in most cases
appearing 2 to 3 days after exposure. Dogs infected with H3N2 may start showing
respiratory signs between 2 and 8 days after infection. Dogs are most contagious
during the incubation period and shed the virus even though they are not showing
clinical signs of illness. Some dogs may show no signs of illness, but have a
subclinical infection and shed the virus.”

Q: How would a dog catch the flu?

Almost the same way a person would. The virus is transmitted through the air by
sneezing and coughing (or barking, drooling and licking), or by contact with infected
surfaces including areas like communal water dishes. Most likely, they would come into contact with another dog that’s contagious. So exposure to the dog flu in
Arizona usually happens at places where you find lots of dogs; the dog park, doggie
daycare, a boarding kennel, grooming salon or dog show.

Q: Does my dog have the flu? – Dog Flu Symptoms

Well, here’s another area where dog flu is similar to people flu. Dogs with the flu will
show symptoms like fever, lethargy, cough, stuffy or runny nose, and watery eyes,
difficulty breathing, wheezing or rapid breathing. Checking on your dog’s wellness is
key to answering the question “does my dog have the flu”. If these symptoms don’t
sound like your dog’s or are more severe, see this article about dog poisoning to help
determine if you’re dealing with something more serious.

You’ll be able to tell your dog is not feeling well. Keep them quiet and away from
other pets to avoid exposing them to the virus. You don’t want to spread the dog flu
in Arizona. After isolating your dog, then it’s time to get busy.

The Canine Influenza virus can remain viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on
clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. Wash your hands frequently. Wash
your clothing, and clean and disinfect other items your pet may have touched. These
include kennels and crates, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, bedding, and toys.

Q: Is dog flu dangerous?

Do dogs need a flu shot? Is it serious enough to warrant giving my dog a flu shot?
The severity of the flu varies depending on the viral strain, the pet’s age, and overall
health. Most otherwise healthy dogs will recover from the flu without a problem or any special treatment required. However, it’s important to note that the cough may
last for up to 3-4 weeks.

Older dogs with weakened immune systems or puppies with underdeveloped
immunity are more at risk as their bodies will have a harder time fighting the virus,
so there’s a higher risk for developing pneumonia.

Dogs with short muzzles, like pugs and bulldogs, already have a compromised
respiratory system. Sore throats and stuffy noses would naturally make them feel
quite sick, so they’d need close monitoring and a trip to the vet’s office.

Q: How is Canine Influenza treated?

There is no specific treatment for Canine Influenza; however, if the answer to the
question “does my dog have the flu” is yes, then there are ways to support your dog
and keep them comfortable. The majority of treatments used in severe cases are
supportive. They may include IV fluids, oxygen, antibiotics, breathing treatments,
and mucolytics (a class of medications which help break down mucus to make it
easier to expel it from the lungs).

Q: So do dogs need a flu shot?

While vaccines are available for canine influenza, vaccination would only be
recommended for dogs at high risk for infection. It is important to note, vaccination
can only reduce the risk of a dog contracting canine influenza, it may not prevent
infection. However, the flu shot can potentially reduce the severity and duration of
the flu. It’s best to talk over your concerns with your vet.

Q: Anything else we need to know?

One last, but very important reminder – people can’t get dog flu, but they can
inadvertently spread it if they’ve touched a contaminated surface (or petted one).
That’s why animal hospitals follow strict guidelines for cleaning and disinfection. We
take extra precautions when seeing pets that are exhibiting respiratory symptoms.
If you suspect your pet has the flu or has been exposed to it, or they’re having
respiratory symptoms, call us first. You may receive special instructions for bringing
your dog into the office. These restrictions are in place to reduce the risk of exposing
other animals in the waiting room to something that could be contagious.

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