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Preventative Care For Dogs

We recognize that your pet’s preventative health care can be a bit overwhelming! Preventative medicine plays a crucial role in keeping your furry family member happy and healthy. Listed below are the most commonly used preventative care practices utilized in our hospitals that may be discussed in your upcoming appointment.

Annual Preventative Care Exam
Annual exams are so much more than just vaccines! During the exam, the doctor will assess your pet from nose to tail. The personal attention your pet receives in the appointment allows us to use their current physical condition, the history provided, and our professional experience to formulate recommendations that we believe will help your pet live the best life possible. Many chronic conditions can be caught and managed early when your pet is evaluated on an annual basis. Every stage of life brings a different set of challenges and as your trusted pet care provider, we will be here to help you every step of the way!

Vaccines
We are committed to the long-term wellness of our pet patients. Below are the primary vaccines we recommend depending on the pet’s lifestyle. We will discuss these with you at your pet’s appointment to determine which of these are recommended.

  • DHPP Vaccine – This vaccine is used to protect your pet from 4 potentially fatal but preventable diseases (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvo).
  • Bordetella Vaccine – Bordetella is one of the more common causes of kennel cough/canine cough (infectious tracheobronchitis). The vaccine is also required by most groomers and boarding facilities.
  • Rabies Vaccine– A vaccine that is required by law due to the risk to people and the disease being very fatal.
  • Lepto Vaccine – This disease is spread through the urine of infected animals. It is also a bacterial infection that can be spread to people. As of May 2017, over 70 dogs in Maricopa County have been diagnosed with Leptospirosis so we highly recommend this vaccine for your pet.

Make sure to ask us about our Free Vaccines for Life program which is designed specifically for adult animals.  After a one-time Enrollment fee your pet’s vaccine costs will be free for the rest of their life. All you must do to keep the benefits going year after year is bring them in for their annual Preventative Care exam! Visit http://www.arizonapetvet.com/free_vaccines.php for more information on our program.

Fecal Testing
A fecal exam detects microscopic parasites found in the stool such as whipworms, hookworms and roundworms. A yearly test is recommended to allow for proper treatment if needed. Make sure to bring a fecal sample in a bag with you to your pet’s preventative care exam.

Heartworm Testing and Prevention
Heartworm is a preventable parasitic disease in dogs and cats spread by mosquitoes. In the last 3 years, Arizona has seen a significant increase in positive cases throughout the state. There are multiple ways to protect your pet, all of which are much simpler, safer, and more cost-effective than treating the disease if it occurs.  We recommend annual blood testing and monthly prevention to ensure your pet is protected.

Flea/Tick Control
Fleas and ticks are the two most common external parasites found in dogs and cats. They survive by feeding on the blood of dogs, cats and sometimes people. Flea and tick bites can lead to health problems including constant itching, hair loss (alopecia), hypersensitivity (allergic reaction), as well as infections and transmission of disease. Fleas and Tick prevention is as easy as a monthly flavored treat.

Nutrition
Proper nutrition is a key to keeping your pet happy and healthy! It’s estimated that 56% of dogs are overweight. Special diets are commonly used to impact nutritionally related conditions such as bladder stones, diabetes, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, weight management and much more! Food allergies are also very common and can cause skin, ear, and gastrointestinal problems.

Microchip
A microchip is a permanent method of electronic identification. The chip itself is very small, about the size of a grain of rice, and is implanted subcutaneously (just under the skin) between the shoulder blades at the back of your pet’s neck. Each chip has a unique number that is detected using a microchip scanner.

Dentistry
If you’ve had a whiff of your pets’ breath and said “Eeeewwww!” you’re not alone! Dental disease is the most common problems found during a pet’s annual wellness exam.

Left untreated, the bacteria can lead to issues such as gum disease, tooth infection, bone loss, chronic pain and infection of the kidneys, liver and even the heart. Veterinary dental treatment has evolved over the years. It requires general anesthesia so that the teeth can be thoroughly evaluated and cleaned. Dental x-rays are also taken to examine the health of the mouth. Talk with your doctor to see if dental treatment is necessary for your pet!

Senior Blood Work
Once a patient is 7 years old, annual senior blood work is highly recommended.  Annual blood work helps detect health problems, so treatment is begun before symptoms worsen. It also helps establish a baseline, which can be helpful in comparison with future testing if your pet becomes ill.

We hope this information helped clarify some of the things we may discuss in your pets upcoming preventative care appointment. We look forward to seeing you and your furry family member soon.

How to Recognize Diabetes in Pets

diabetes sign with exclamation pointDiabetes 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.

November is National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, so we thought we’d take some time to review the symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats.

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 required 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

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 required 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)
  • Decreased activity, weakness, depression
  • Vomiting

Still not sure? Take the quiz and see if your pet is at risk

Diabetes can be managed. If your pet has symptoms, make an appointment with your veterinarian to make sure your pet can live a longer, healthier life.

Why Do Pets Need Vaccinations?

Pets need vaccinationsLike people, pets need vaccinations to stay healthy and to help prevent communicable diseases.

Vaccinations help prevent many illnesses that can affect pets. There are different vaccines for different diseases, as well as different types and combinations of vaccines. Vaccination have risks and benefits that must be weighed for every pet, depending on factors like age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle.

Most vets recommend administering core vaccines to healthy pets, however, not every pet needs to be vaccinated against every disease. Talk with your veterinarian about a vaccination protocol that’s right for your pet, and in compliance with your state and local laws. Each state has its own laws governing the administration of the rabies vaccine. Some require yearly rabies vaccination, while other areas call for rabies vaccines to be administered every three years. In almost all states, proof of rabies vaccination is mandatory.

Understanding How Vaccines Work
Vaccines help prepare the immune system to fight disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which are similar in structure to the disease-causing organism but don’t actually cause the disease. The vaccine enters the body to mildly stimulate the immune system to fight the ‘disease’. If a pet is exposed to the real disease, the immune system is prepared to destroy the disease-causing organism entirely or reduce the severity and duration of the illness.

Vaccinations for Puppies 
Puppies receive antibodies while nursing, if their mother has a healthy immune system. Puppies should receive a series of vaccinations starting at six to eight weeks of age. Your veterinarian should administer a minimum of three vaccinations at three- to four-week intervals. The final dose should be administered at 16 weeks of age.

Core Vaccinations for Dogs
Some adult dogs may receive certain vaccines annually, while other vaccines might be given every three years or so. Your veterinarian will provide guidance.

Vaccines for canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk and lifestyle. Non-core vaccines include Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria.

Vaccinations For Kittens
Kittens receive antibodies while nursing, if their mother has a healthy immune system. Once the kitten is around six to eight weeks of age, your veterinarian should administer a series of vaccines at three- or four-week intervals until the kitten reaches 16 weeks of age.

Core Vaccinations for Cats
Vaccines for panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the cat’s lifestyle. These include vaccines to protect against feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chlamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus. Adult cats might be revaccinated annually or every three years.

Your veterinarian can help determine what vaccines are best for your pet. Don’t forget, AZPetVet offers a FREE Vaccines for Life program that can help keep your pet healthy and protected for life, and save you some $$ along the way. (Use the savings for healthy treats and toys – they deserve it!)

The Importance of Dental Health

Virtually no one likes going to the dentist…but we all know it’s important! Dental care for humans and animals alike is something that should never be ignored. Proper dental hygiene is a critical part of keeping your pet healthy and happy, helping to avoid potentially life-threatening issues that come with dental disease. Want to know just a bit more? Dr. Tressa MacLennan from our Scottsdale location did a quick segment with a brief overview! Check it out:

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms in Pets

symptoms of allergies in petsCoughing, runny eyes and nose, stuffiness and congestion – people agree that seasonal allergies are miserable!

But did you know that pets can suffer from seasonal allergies, too?

Pets with seasonal allergies will exhibit very different symptoms from people. Here are some of the top symptoms to look for:

  • Constant scratching and licking 
  • Chewing of feet and pads
  • Scratching or rubbing of the face
  • Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
  • Recurrent hot spots in dogs and facial scabs in cats
  • Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more likely in cats)
  • Foul odor from skin or coat may indicate secondary infections

Environmental allergens that are inhaled or come in contact with skin and cause irritation are known as atopy. Seasonal examples of atopy include ragweed, which will usually occur in the fall months. Reactions to spring pollens from trees and other plants will most commonly occur during April and May when trees and flowers are in full bloom.

Scratching is the single most common symptom of allergies in pets. Dog will often chew their feet and pads, which is a huge tip-off that they’re dealing with an environmental allergic reaction to pollens, mold or dust mites. This condition is known as allergic dermatitis.

Ear infections in dogs are also quite common symptoms of allergies. If you notice your dog or cat scratching at their ears, it’s likely that some form of allergen is causing irritation.

There are many products and treatments available to help ease allergy symptoms. Consult your veterinarian to find the best solution for you and your pet.