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Why Preventive Health Care for Pets Is Important 

health care for pets
Health Care for Pets – Why Pet Preventive Care Matters
Health care for pets, including pet preventive care, matters a great deal to  companion animals. Your family pet’s health care plan should incorporate regular  check-ups, pet dental care, and grooming to keep them looking and feeling their  best. Good pet preventive care helps maximize our faithful companions’ health,  wellness, and quality of life, which is what every pet parent wants for their furry  friends.
Like people, dogs are living longer. And like people, dogs are at risk for developing  age-related illnesses and issues like arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease,  and cancer. Regular pet preventive care helps your vet identify your pet’s particular  risk factors – whether it’s age, lifestyle, weight, or genetics, and quickly get on top of  any problem. Early detection of disease and intervention allows you and your vet to  decide the best course of care for your pet.
Pet preventive care often includes lifestyle and/or dietary changes and may  incorporate medication, especially as your pet ages and risk factors increase. Cats are often overlooked for preventive care, but they need regular wellness checks, too!  Your veterinarian will likely recommend annual wellness programs for your pet,  including routine blood work to monitor for potential problems. Some pets may  require more frequent veterinary health checks depending on their age and overall  condition. Naturally, older pets should see the vet more frequently.

Creating a Family Pet Health Care Plan 
The core of your pet’s preventive care plan should include complete wellness exams  by a veterinary professional. According to the ​Merck Veterinary Manual​,
“​Adult dogs​ should have a complete veterinary examination at least once a year.  Puppies need veterinary visits usually every 3 to 4 weeks until they are about 4  months old. Geriatric dogs (older than 7 to 8 years old) should see their veterinarian  twice a year or more frequently because illness is more common in older pets, and it  can be identified sooner.​”
“​Adult cats ​should have a complete veterinary examination at least once a year.  Kittens need veterinary visits usually every 3 to 4 weeks until they are about 4  months old. Geriatric cats (older than 8 to 9 years old) should see their veterinarian  twice a year or more frequently because illness is more common in older pets, and  should be identified sooner to provide proper treatment.”

Key Tips for Pet Preventive Care  
Your veterinarian will recommend timelines for your pet’s core vaccines and dental  care. Routine veterinary preventive care for your pets should include the following  items, as well as any additional health screens recommended by your veterinarian,  tailored for your pet’s specific needs.
● Vaccinations
● Parasite control
● Dental care
● Grooming
● Stool screening
● Bloodwork
● Heartworm testing

Finally, if you have questions about preventive pet care or your cat or dog’s health,  give your vet a call. Don’t have a regular vet? AZPetVet has 21 convenient locations  around the Valley. Find an AZPetVet location near you ​here​.

[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.  

Pets’ Mental Health & Pet Stress Relief

We Prescribe Exercise – the Natural Stress Relief for Pets

When it comes to pets and mental health –– OK, pets and physical health, too –– we prescribe exercise, the natural stress relief for pets. Yes, we all know we should exercise, but the same is true for pets. Low activity levels lead to boredom, feelings of loneliness, weight gain, and possible mental health and behavior issues for your pet (the same is true for humans). Luckily, the solution is usually simple. Get up, and go outside for a walk together. Don’t just wait and put it off or we assure you the results won’t be good. 

For pets’ mental health, the #1 enemy is boredom. We’ve all seen funny videos of pet parents coming home to a giant mess while the pets (usually dogs) make a big production of looking innocent. Who chewed the couch cushions? Who ate my new shoes/the remote/the pillow? Who got into the trash? Who did this? Who, indeed. Idle paws are the devil’s workshop! 

Pets that get destructive or develop behavior problems are often acting out of sheer boredom and loneliness to release stress while unconsciously causing more of it. Attention seeking behaviors like pawing, jumping, whining, and barking are also telltale signs that your pet’s mental and physical health needs to be addressed. 

Think about it. Pets are often home alone for a large part of the day. Of course, now that more of us are working at home, pets are trying their best to ‘help,’ begging to get your attention or for treats while you’re trying to work. Add kids, and oh, boy–stress galore for everyone.

Feeling stressed is universal these days, and our stress can spill over to affect pets. Our faithful furry friends know our every mood, and they only want to please us, so when we’re down, they’re going to feel down, too. So, remember, healthy pet parents, make for healthy pets. Exercise relieves stress and improves mental health. Pet exercise, such as a daily walk or playtime, provides natural stress relief for pets, and people, too. The mental stimulation means pets are far more likely to stay out of trouble (and the trash can). Exercise or playtime spent with your pet is pawsitive and fun, rather than based on “no, stop that,” or “go lay down,” so everyone feels happier. Plus, you never know, you might meet some new friends along the way!

Still not sure? January is National Walk Your Pet Month, and the weather is beautiful around this time, so no excuses. Walking is good stress relief. Make it a goal – get up, grab the leash, and go on an adventure. It’s good for your heart and your pet’s heart, too. So, head outside and stretch those muscles and joints. Burn off some excess energy and fat with your pet! There’s no better stress relief than watching your pup’s eager interest in new sights, smells and sounds, and their wagging tail.

 

[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.

Detecting & Managing Worms in Dogs

worms in dogs

What Causes Worms in Dogs? 

Nobody wants to think about anything creepy or crawly invading their pup’s internal organs. Still, it’s every pet parent’s essential responsibility to understand the risks, signs, and treatment options available if your dog contracts worms. The first rule is don’t panic. Worms are a relatively common condition in domestic dogs, typically referred to as intestinal parasites, and can infect dogs of any age. Some worms can even be transferred to people, with immunosuppressed people and small children being the most vulnerable.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that there are five types of common worms in dogs that parents should be aware of: roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, and heartworms. 

“What do worms look like in dog poop?” is perhaps the most common question we hear our pet parents ask. Certain roundworms and hookworms will appear as small to large, off-white to tan, spaghetti shaped parasites in the stool. Tapeworms will appear as small, off-white to tan segments in the stool or clinging to the hair around the privates. Fresh segments will be white and may expand and contract, but dry segments often resemble rice grains or sesame seeds and are darker in color. However, some worms can be digested and won’t appear in the stool.

The Arizona Humane Society lays out how each of the common worms in dogs might be transmitted: 

  • Roundworm – Commonly transmitted to puppies prior to birth (while in the uterus). They can also be transmitted by nursing from an infected mother and through feces or contaminated soil. Ingesting infected rodents also increases susceptibility. 
  • Tapeworm – Commonly transmitted by fleas as a result of self-grooming and swallowing an infected flea that grows into a tapeworm.  
  • Hookworm – Commonly transmitted by eggs passing through feces of infected dogs and hatching into larvae. These larvae can often be swallowed or penetrate the dog’s foot pads or skin. Nursing dogs can also transmit hookworms to their pups. Hookworms are transmissible to humans.
  • Heartworm – Larvae are transmitted by mosquitoes from pet to pet and are prevalent throughout the country. Dogs that are infected carry thousands of microscopic larvae within their bloodstream, and when mosquitoes bite, they suck out the blood, swallowing the tiny worms and passing them to the next dog they bite. The adult worms grow quite large in the heart and lungs and can be life-threatening. 
  • Whipworm – Commonly transmitted by ingestion of food or water contaminated with whipworm eggs. Those eggs mature and attach to the intestinal tract, feeding on the dog’s blood. The eggs are often passed through the stool and remain in the soil where they mature, then the process repeats. Grooming tools can also carry contaminated eggs.

The Humane Society also provides detail for each parasite and their related symptoms and prevention. However, each parasite impacts every dog differently.  Here are some general warning signs owners can look out for:

  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Poor coat appearance
  • Intestinal blockage/pneumonia
  • Deficiencies in nutrition
  • Anemia
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite

Not all dogs with parasites will have clinical signs. Parasites come in many shapes and sizes, and although some may be impossible to see with the naked eye, they can still cause severe problems. Luckily, they’re preventable and treatable with proper veterinary care. 

Many deworming medications have been proven safe and effective, however, it is always recommended to discuss with your veterinarian prior to administering any medication. Worm infestations can be life-threatening for dogs if caught too late or left untreated. Some parasites can be transmitted to their human companions. It’s recommended that you check your pet frequently for parasites with the help of your pet’s veterinarian. This way, they can work with you to develop a treatment plan and get your pup on the fast track to recovery.

If you’re worried your pet might have a worm infection, immediately contact your nearest AZPetVet location and make an appointment.

If you would like to learn more about parasites visit https://www.petsandparasites.org/

 

[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.

Hidden Desert Dangers For Dogs

Seven Desert Dangers For Dogs

The warmer weather brings out a variety of critters that enjoy basking in the sunshine, including snakes and other creepy crawlies. Since dogs love to sniff around and investigate all sorts of interesting sights and smells during walks, they may be at risk for meeting all sorts of potentially harmful desert dwellers. Here are some of the things you’ll need to watch out for when venturing outside or into the desert with your dog.

1. Arizona Rattlesnake Season:

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. If your dog gets bitten by a snake, it’s important to get to an emergency veterinarian immediately! For the best chance of recovery, dogs must be treated for a snake bite within just a couple hours of the bite. Restrict your pet’s movement to slow the venom’s spread, and remove any collars and halters if any swelling is occurring near the head or limbs. Symptoms of snake bites can include:

  • Changes in gum color (Brick Red or Pale)
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Rapid breathing & heart rate
  • Continuous licking of paws
  • Digging at ears
  • Oozing from a puncture wound
  • Collapse from shock

Snake training for dogs can help avoid a snake bite. Phoenix has a lot of frequent hikers and residential areas with lots of desert around. That’s why we recommend you and your pet attend Rattlesnake Avoidance Training with a professional trainer. There are several different methods involved in this type of training, so be sure to ask a lot of questions before you decide on a trainer and training system. We also recommend repeating training annually – as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

2. Scorpions, scorpions, scorpions!:

Can scorpions hurt dogs? Oh, yes. Out of the more than 1,700 known types of scorpions, about 25 have sufficient amounts of venom to deliver a sting that could be fatal to pets. It’s no surprise that many poisonous scorpions make Arizona their home, including the deadly bark scorpion. During spring and summer months, our hospitals experience an increased number of calls about a dog stung by a scorpion on the nose or a scorpion bite on the dog’s paw. Symptoms of scorpion stings can include pain and localized swelling on the nose, face, paws or legs. Smaller dogs can even experience seizures. If you suspect your dog has been stung by a scorpion, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

3. Heat Stroke/Hyperthermia:

Heatstroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for both pets and people. Unlike humans, cats and dogs have very few sweat glands – they’re located in places such as their feet and noses. Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises dangerously above normal, putting them at risk for multiple organ failure or death. Early recognition, and treatment of heatstroke, can improve your pet’s chances of making a quick recovery. Seek veterinary care and guidance as soon as possible! Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs can include:

  • Excessive panting/drooling
  • Dehydration
  • 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)

4. Javelinas:

Are javelinas dangerous to dogs? Yes and no. While they can be a nuisance, according to Arizona Game & Fish, they rarely present any significant risk to dogs. Coyotes are a natural predator for javelinas, so they’ll tend to steer clear of you and your dog unless cornered or while trying to protect their young. If you encounter a javelina or a group of them while walking with your dog, immediately turn around and head in another direction.

5. Foxtails & Cactus:

While these native plants are pretty, they can have quite a sting. If your dog comes in contact with a cactus, call your vet or an emergency vet right away for guidance. Foxtail can be quite dangerous to pets, as the barbed seed heads can work their way into your dog’s eyes, ears, mouth, paws or skin. Left untreated, they can cause serious infection.

6. Bugs & Mosquitoes:

Warmer weather also brings out an abundance of bugs, including mosquitoes. To help keep your pet safe, be sure to maintain your pet’s heartworm preventative medicine. 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 critters after being outdoors.

7. Cuts, Bites, & Burns:

Noses, paws, and legs are where most cuts, bites, and burns occur in dogs. Remember, the pads on your dog’s feet are NOT the same as shoes, so delicate paw pads can burn and blister very easily. Hiking, running, and other protective shoes that are made just for dogs can help prevent cuts, bites, and burns on tender paw pads that will require veterinary care. 

Finally, during Arizona’s summer months, it’s best to take walks early in the morning when it’s cooler, or later in the evening after the cement or ground has had time to cool down. Remember, if you can’t walk barefoot, then neither should your pet! And if your pet does tangle with one of Arizona’s native snakes, scorpions. or other critters, act quickly and call your veterinarian for help. 

[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.

Protecting Your Pet’s Paws this Summer

Ways to Protect the Paws this Summer

With the summer fun comes the summer heat, and with the heat comes hot pavement! Asphalt, black tops, sidewalks, pool patios, and even turf can quickly become hotter than the outside air temperature making it dangerous for your pup’s paws.

To help avoid painful burns, damage to their paw pads, and ouchies that may require veterinary care, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to the heat. Avoid taking your dog out during the hotter times of the day and instead choose to exercise early in the morning or later in the evening after the pavement has had time to cool off. Another option might be to take them to a place without pavement like a grassy park where dogs are allowed.

When hot pavement or turf can’t be avoided, it’s a good idea to use dog booties! For summer, it’s best to have protective but breathable booties for your dog. There are even booties with reflective material on them to help provide visibility at nighttime. Make sure to shop around to find the best fit for your dog’s paws, their lifestyle, and your wallet. When buying booties, typically the manufacturer provides information that should tell you how to properly measure to find the best size for your pet’s paws.

Other things to consider when shopping around:

Make sure they are made for summer wear; you wouldn’t want to order dog sledding boots for summer! Look at the reviews and make sure they stay on dogs’ paws well; you don’t want to lose a bootie during an adventure. Lastly, make sure they fit your pup’s active lifestyle, as there are all different boots for different activities. For example, if they are using them around a pool, you may need ones that are water-appropriate material. If they are going to be hiking in them, they make trail dog boots for even more protection.

Introducing them to the boots:

It’s important to take a slow approach when introducing booties to your dog for the first time. Start by rewarding them for acknowledging the booties. You want them to see the boots as something positive and fun! Once your dog sees the boots as being something positive because they get a treat when the boots come out, try placing one of the boots on one of your dog’s paws. If your dog will not let you place a boot on their paw, try just touching their paw with the boot and rewarding them as a starting point – don’t strap them up just yet! One at a time, work to where you can successfully place a boot on each paw. Then, once you’ve had success doing that, place one bootie on and strap it up… don’t forget to reward your pup! Do this one paw at a time until you have successfully put on all the boots, give them a treat, and only leave them on for a few seconds before taking them off. Repeat this step, gradually increasing the amount of time they are on. Once they are comfortable with them on, encourage their first steps…they may walk a little funny at first!

Make sure to praise and reward your pup a lot while they figure out how to walk in their new shoes! After they have had time to adjust to the boots by having play sessions in the house with them on, you can begin to take them on walks wearing the boots. Don’t forget to bring treats and praise during your walk. Having your dog wear the booties for fun like on a trip to the pet store or to the park helps them associate positive experiences with the boots. Remember that making it a positive and fun experience for your pup will go a long way!

[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