Author Archives: AZPetVet

How to Recognize Diabetes in Pets

 

diabetes sign with exclamation pointWhat To Do If Your Dog or Cat has Diabetes

Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that affects the way the body produces or processes
the hormone insulin, which helps the body turn glucose (sugar) from food into energy.
Unfortunately, Diabetes is not curable in either dogs or cats. However, early diagnosis,
along with regular treatment and care, means your furry friend can still live a very long
and happy life.

Being aware and able to recognize the signs of Diabetes in your dog or cat is critical to
ensuring they get the help they need. Left unmanaged, Diabetes can have irreversible
effects. If you suspect your beloved dog or cat has Diabetes, be sure to consult your
veterinarian.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

If your dog is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as
they could be indicators that your dog has Diabetes. Please note that these symptoms
overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is necessary to make a proper diagnosis.

● Change in appetite
● Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
● Weight loss
● Increased urination
● Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
● Lethargy
● Dehydration
● Urinary tract infections
● Vomiting
● Cataract formation, blindness
● Chronic skin infections

While Diabetes is more common in middle-aged to older dogs, especially among
females, it’s not uncommon for younger dogs to develop Diabetes. Certain breeds are
more likely to develop Diabetes, including German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and
Cocker Spaniels.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats

Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease in cats. If your cat is
experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be
indicators that your cat has Diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is necessary to make a proper diagnosis.

● Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
● Inappropriate elimination (cats also experience increased urinary tract infections)
● Change in appetite (increased or decreased appetite is an indicator of a problem)
● Weight loss
● Change in gait (walking)
● Reduced activity, weakness, depression
● Vomiting

Diabetes tends to be more common among middle-aged to older cats, as well as among
felines that are overweight. However, unlike dogs, neutered male cats are more likely to
develop Diabetes. While any cat can develop Diabetes, breeds that are more prone to
this disease include Siamese, Maine Coon, and Burmese.

What To Do if Your Dog or Cat has Diabetes

If you find out your furry friend has Diabetes, it’s totally normal to feel worried and
anxious. First, take a deep breath. With the right kind of care and treatment, your beloved cat or dog can still live a happy and productive life. Your veterinarian can discuss various lifestyle changes
you will need to make in your pet’s life to ensure they remain healthy. These can include
more exercise, diet changes, oral medication, and insulin injections.

Still not sure if your furry friend has Diabetes? Take the quiz and see if your pet could be
at risk or schedule an appointment at one of our 21 locations.

With proper veterinary care, Diabetes can be manageable. Working together, we can help your pet live a long and healthy life.

[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.

Know the Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Cancer in Dogs and Cats is More Common Than You Might Think

Cancer is, unfortunately, a natural part of life, and many people don’t realize
that dogs and cats can get cancer, too. According to the American Veterinary
Medical Association (AVMA), dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans.
The AVMA also reports than nearly 50 percent of dogs over the age of 10 will develop
some form of cancer. When it comes to cats, according to the Animal Cancer
Foundation (ACF), 1 in every 5 cats develop cancer in their lifetime. Some common
types of cancer in cats are lymphoma, feline leukemia virus, and breast cancer.

Because of the veterinary medical advances in diagnosing and treating cancer in
dogs and cats, regular wellness exams are more important than ever in order to help
with early intervention, and treatment. Happily, with early detection, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment, some forms of cancer in pets can be cured. Other cancers can only be managed to slow the spread of the disease and keep your pet’s life as normal as possible. The biggest factors determining the treatment for pet cancers are:

● The type of cancer, location and the rate of spread to other parts of the body.
● The stage of the disease and how far it may have spread in the pet’s body.

Sadly, some forms of cancer in dogs and cats may not respond to treatment. If
your dog or cat is diagnosed with cancer, your veterinarian will discuss the best
treatment option(s) available for your pet, as well as the risks and side effects
associated with each option, so you can make the choice that’s best for your family,
your pet and their quality of life.

Early Cancer Warning Signs in Dogs & Cats

Consult your veterinarian if you observe any of the following signs in your dog or cat:
● Abdominal swelling
● Bleeding from the mouth, nose or other body openings
● Difficulty breathing or coughing
● Difficulty eating
● Difficulty urinating
● Lumps, bumps or skin discolorations
● Non-healing wounds or sores
● Persistent diarrhea or vomiting
● Sudden changes in weight, especially weight loss
● Unexplained swelling, heat, pain or lameness
● Visible mass or tumor on the pet’s body

What’s Next After a Pet Cancer Diagnosis

If your dog or cat has been diagnosed with cancer, your veterinary team will be at
your side to help you make the best decision for your pet, your family and to ensure
the animal’s quality of life. Recommended treatments may be a single type of
therapy or a combination of therapies. These may include surgery, chemotherapy,
radiation, cryosurgery (freezing), or immunotherapy. In certain cases, your
veterinarian may refer you to a board-certified veterinary oncologist (cancer
specialist) for the best care possible.

Since your pet’s overall health is important, your veterinarian may also recommend
dietary changes and/or complementary therapies such as acupuncture that may
help your pet better respond to treatment. Pain management is also an important
aspect of any cancer treatment and will be determined on a case by case basis.

As veterinary professionals and animal lovers, we understand you want the best care
for your pet at every stage of their life. To help ease the possible financial concerns, our interest-free payment plans may be of assistance during the care and treatment of your pet. We’re here to help, so your pet can remain comfortable, happy, and as pain-free as possible.

[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.

What’s the Best Type of Dog or Cat for Your Family Pet?

How to Choose the Best Type of Dog or Cat For Your Family Pet

At AZPetVet, we think pets are so awesome, we’ve made them our life’s work! Often, we’re asked what’s the best type of dog for a family pet or what are the best types of cats? These are great questions to be asking BEFORE you get a new dog or cat, and they spawn a lot of other questions that you might not have thought to ask. The type of dog or cat is not simply limited to a choice of the breed — there are many other things to consider.

If you’re an experienced pet owner, you already know the challenges and rewards of owning a cat or dog; it’s a lifetime commitment! Sometimes, people can underestimate the particular needs of a type of dog or cat or get a pet without fully thinking things through, which can lead to frustration or even the animal being surrendered to a shelter or being rehomed.

Taking the time to explore different breeds of cats and dogs and the specific care needs of each type can help you make the decision that’s best suited for you, your family, your lifestyle and your future pet dog or cat. This is especially important if you’re a first-time pet owner or have small children or other restrictions. Read on to learn what things you should consider when choosing the best dog or cat for your family.

Experience Levels & Time Commitments for Training Pets

Bringing a pet into your life has lots of benefits, but there’s also a big adjustment period for everyone, including the animal. Have you ever owned a dog or cat or are you venturing into dog or cat ownership for the first time? Do you currently own a dog or cat (or both) and are planning a new addition to your family? Do you want a puppy or kitten or an older animal?

If you’re considering a puppy or kitten, ask yourself how much time you are willing to devote to training? A little (1-5 hours per week)? Mid-range (6-10 hours per week)? A lot (10+ hours)?

Are you gone from home for long periods of time for work or other commitments? Will the dog or cat be crated during the day/night, or free to run around?

If you’re looking for an older pet that’s already trained or housebroken, adoption from a shelter or rescue may be your best bet — and due to the number of unwanted or homeless animals, adoption is always encouraged!

If you currently own a dog or cat or a mix of pets, bringing a new dog or cat, puppy or kitten into the pack will be a gradual process to minimize any territory or jealousy issues or possible personality clashes. Your vet can recommend the right steps and sometimes even products that may help ease the transition period.

Your Home, Family & Lifestyle Matters

Do you live in an apartment or condominium with breed or size restrictions? A home with a big yard? A patio style home with a small yard or limited space? Do you have children under age 10? Choosing the right type of dog or cat for your family and living situation is a must.

For instance, larger breeds of dogs such as Great Danes, Mastiffs or Saint Bernards may not be as happy in an apartment or home with little yard space and can often act out by chewing everything they can find, including furniture and walls! Really active breeds like Australian Shepherds, Retrievers or Jack Russell Terriers tend to be extremely smart and will need regular exercise, interactive toys,
and playtime to stay happy and healthy.

Barking, Meowing & Shedding, Oh My!

Can you tolerate barking and meowing, or do you prefer a quieter pet? Dogs will bark, and some tend to do it more than others. Many breeds of dogs, such as Siberian Huskies, Spaniels, Beagles, and Basset Hounds tend to be much more vocal by nature due to their natural hunting instincts. Cats may not bark, but some of them are definitely talkers! Siamese Persian, Japanese Bobtail, and the Sphynx are just some of the breeds of cats known to be very vocal compared to other types of
cats, so it’s important to choose your next pet according to your tolerance level for
barks and meows.

Longer haired pets need regular brushing to help keep their coats in good shape and to prevent matting. While all pet dogs and cats will need some grooming from time to time, shedding is another big consideration, especially if you have allergies or someone with allergies is living in your home.

Some breeds of dogs and cats are natural-born fur factories, while others are low-to-no shedding or even hypoallergenic. The types of dogs that shed the most include Saint Bernards (long or short-coats, they both shed a LOT), Siberian Huskies, Labrador/Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, among others. Types of dogs that shed the least include the Dachshund, Cockapoo, Havanese, and Bichon Frise, among others.

Cats that shed the most fur include the Ragamuffin, Ragdoll, and the Russian Blue. If you’re looking for a low-shedding type of cat, consider a Siamese, Turkish Angora, the Siberian, or the Tonkinese breeds. One note: if you’re allergic to cats, choosing a low shedding breed might not help. Eighty percent of cat allergies are actually due to a protein that’s found in the skin and saliva, rather than the actual fur itself.

Activity Levels

Consider your activity levels and lifestyle: are you more one to relax and hang out on the couch, go out to take a walk around the neighborhood or park, or are you an active runner, biker or hiker?

Some of the best dogs for more sedentary lifestyles include the English Bulldog, Chow Chow, Basset Hound, Boston Terrier, and the Shih Tzu. People with active lifestyles who want to bring their dog along for the adventure and exercise. If you’re one of those people, consider an Irish Setter, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Golden Retriever, Weimaraner, or Dalmation for your next companion.

Whew, that’s a lot, we know! Hopefully the questions here will help you make a wise choice when selecting the right new member of your family. Whether you end up choosing a purebred cat or dog or adopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue, the lucky cat or dog will likely make a wonderful addition to your life and family for years to come. A final note: don’t forget to spay or neuter your new pet, and schedule regular wellness visits with your veterinarian. Happy adopting!

Here is a fun interactive tool to use to help select the right breed of dog for you:

Dog Breed Selector

Here is a fun interactive tool to use to help select the right breed of cat for you:
http://www.animalplanet.com/breedselector/catselectorindex.do

What Does Microchipping Mean and Pet Chip Registry

Understanding the Benefits of Microchips for Arizona Pets

Despite our best efforts, some pets have a knack for escaping the house or yard and getting lost. That’s why it’s essential to have your pets microchipped! One tiny chip can mean the difference between a lost dog ending up in a shelter (and potentially being euthanized) and finding their way home. Here’s what you need to know to protect your pet if they get lost, where to get a microchip in Arizona, plus how to find pet chip registry sites.

What Does Microchip Mean?

A microchip is a tiny transponder, about the size of a grain of rice, that uses radiofrequency waves to transmit information about your pet. The microchip is implanted just under the pet’s skin, usually right between the shoulder blades.

How Do Microchips Work?

Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner passed over the pet can read the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. The animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can then contact the registry to get your name and phone number to notify you that your pet has been found.

How Long Do Microchips Last?

Microchips are designed to work for up to 25 years. One reminder, though – keep your contact information current!

Where in Arizona Can I Get a Pet Microchip?

Veterinarians, as well as some animal rescues and shelters, can microchip pets. If your pet is not already microchipped, contact any of our AZPetVet locations to schedule an appointment.

What Happens If I Move or Change Phone Numbers? How Do I Update My Pet’s Microchip?

If you have a new phone number or address, contact the company that registers the chip to update your information; otherwise, the chip will be useless. Depending on the chip vendor, you may be charged a small fee to process the update.

What Happens If I Adopt a Pet That’s Already Microchipped?

If your pet is already microchipped, that’s great news! Lots of rescues in the area routinely microchip their pets prior to adoption. When adopting a pet from a shelter, you should be provided the chip information, the specific chip number along with any relevant health history records. It’s important to  contact the corresponding registry to update your contact information accordingly. If you are unsure if your pet is microchipped, stop by any of our AZPetVet locations , or a local Arizona veterinarian office/rescue to get your pet scanned.

Pet Chip Registries

Not sure which pet chip registry site was used to register your pet? If you have your pet’s microchip number but have forgotten where you registered your contact information, you may find the original registry here. Call the phone number listed or visit the appropriate registry website to have the information updated. If you don’t have the microchip number, ask your vet to check your pet’s record or have them scan your pet for the chip number and any other information.

Reptiles and Amphibians – Are Exotic Pets Right For Your Lifestyle?

Reptiles and amphibians range from low- to high-maintenance care

Thinking of adding an exotic pet like a reptile or amphibian to your household? While they’re not exactly cuddly and affectionate, many ‘herps’ (coined from the Greek word for creeping thing) can make great pets, but different species will need different levels of owner experience and investment. Because reptiles and amphibians may require varying degrees of specialized care, it’s important to
do some research! Before you consider adopting one of these critters, here’s some basic information on reptiles and amphibians that could help you make the right decision for you and your family!

Low maintenance reptiles and amphibians

For kids and adults who may be allergic to furry or feathered pets or just want a pet that’s out of the norm, low maintenance reptiles and amphibians can be wonderful options. Some notes of caution – many herps do not like being handled and do not do well being handled, so there can be a risk of biting or injury. Low maintenance reptiles and amphibians include corn snakes, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, tortoises, and frogs, making them a great beginner options for families with children.

Smaller carnivorous lizards and amphibians feed on a varied diet that includes insects dusted with supplements, such as calcium and other vitamins. Larger carnivorous reptiles, such as monitor lizards and snakes will eat rodents – whether live, freshly killed or thawed from frozen. Others may need to be fed live crickets, mealworms, cockroaches, or worms.

How long do reptiles live?
Another thing to consider when deciding to adopt a reptile is how long do they live? When properly cared for, many reptiles will live far longer in captivity than in the wild, so owning one may be a longer commitment than having a dog or cat.

Snakes: Many types of snakes can live for decades. Corn snakes have a lifespan of 10-20 years. Ball pythons can live for 20-30 years. Kingsnakes average between 12-15 years. Some can even grow well over 5-feet long, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before bringing a snake home.

Turtles & Tortoises: Turtles are water-lovers; tortoises live on land. Turtles and tortoises have the longest potential lifespan. With proper care, some species can live up to 40 to 60 years or even longer. Tortoises often live to a ripe old age, so they’re definitely a long-term commitment – especially since they could outlive you.

Frogs: It’s difficult to answer this as tracking the lifespan of a single frog is next to impossible unless it’s raised in captivity. Depending on the species, frogs can live anywhere between 2 to 40 years, but the average age to expect a frog or toad to live is about 4 to 15 years.

Setting Up a Healthy Habitat
Aquariums, terrariums, tanks, and other habitats will need some specialized equipment, regular cleaning, and care. Reptiles cannot regulate their own body heat, so you will need to have temperature and brightness-regulating devices like:
● A humidifier to help keep the air warm and moist.
● Daytime lights and heat sources. Reptile tanks need a “hot side” and a “cool side” to regulate body temperature.
● Nighttime lights and heat sources. The cool side of the tank needs infrared heat lamps for nighttime use. Most reptiles – like iguanas – also require ultraviolet light.
● Thermometers. Get two thermometers: one for the hot side and one for the cooler side.

Required Accessories For Reptiles and Amphibians
● Hides where they can retreat from the heat and rest.
● Food and water bowls, some will need deeper water for swimming.
● Tile, newspaper, or reptile carpet bedding.
● Rocks, logs, plants, and other accessories.

Health considerations with reptiles and amphibians

With owning a reptile or amphibian comes some health considerations for both the animal and humans. Regular cleaning of the pet’s habitats, as well as lots of handwashing, is a must to help keep your family safe. All children should be closely supervised when caring for reptiles and amphibians because they can potentially carry Salmonella bacteria.

Each year, around 70,000 people in the U.S. 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. If you or anyone in your household have health conditions that could put you at risk, it may not be the best fit.please consider another type of pet.

While many people would not consider owning these types of pets, some reptiles are prohibited by the Arizona Department of Wildlife. Illegal reptiles (without proper permits/licenses) include exotic venomous reptiles, such as cobras, cottonmouths, copperheads, mambas, etc., and any endangered or protected species. Crocodilians (crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials) are also illegal to own without proper permits.

Finally, remember that reptiles and amphibians need veterinary care, too. Regular wellness exams can help keep them happy and healthy for years to come.

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