Tag Archives: Arrow Animal Hospital

Leptospirosis: What Pet Parents Need to Know

leptospirosisLeptospirosis outbreaks in the Valley of the Sun have been on the rise in recent months. While leptospirosis is more common in warm climates with high annual rainfall, it can occur anywhere, even in the desert. Here’s what you need to know to keep your pets healthy and safe:

WHAT IS LEPTOSPIROSIS? Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria, which lives in soil and water. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be spread from animals to people.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS? Common risk factors for dogs include exposure to or drinking from rivers, lakes or streams; roaming on rural properties; exposure to wild animal or farm animal species, even if in the backyard; and contact with rodents or other dogs.

HOW DOES IT SPREAD? Dogs can become infected if mucous membranes (or skin with any wound, such as a cut or scrape) come into contact with infected urine, urine-contaminated soil, water, food or bedding; through a bite from an infected animal; by eating infected tissues or carcasses; and rarely, through breeding. It can also be passed through the placenta from the mother dog to the puppies.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs may include: Fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, reluctance to move, increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), or painful inflammation within the eyes. The disease can cause kidney failure with or without liver failure.

Dogs may occasionally develop severe lung disease and have difficulty breathing. Leptospirosis can cause bleeding disorders, which can lead to blood-tinged vomit, urine, stool or saliva; nosebleeds; and pinpoint red spots (which may be visible on the gums and other mucous membranes or on light-colored skin). Affected dogs can also develop swollen legs (from fluid accumulation) or accumulate excess fluid in their chest or abdomen.

PREVENTION: Vaccines can effectively prevent leptospirosis and help protect dogs for at least 12 months, and annual vaccinations are recommended for at-risk dogs. Your AZPetVet healthcare team can help protect your pet against leptospirosis and other diseases. Find a location near you.

TREATMENT: Leptospirosis is generally treated with antibiotics. Treated early and aggressively, the chances for recovery are good but there is still a risk of permanent residual kidney or liver damage. Although an infected pet dog presents a low risk of infection for you and your family, there is still some risk. If your dog has been diagnosed with leptospirosis, take the following precautions to protect yourself:

  • Administer antibiotics as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Avoid contact with your dog’s urine.
  • If your dog urinates in your home, quickly clean the area with a household disinfectant and wear gloves to avoid skin contact with the urine.
  • Encourage your dog to urinate away from standing water or areas where people or other animals will have access.
  • Wash your hands after handling your pet.

SOURCE: American Veterinary Medical Association

Dog dental disease is no barking matter!

You love your pets. You buy them the best quality food for their nutritional needs, exercise them for fun and enjoyment, and enjoy the companionship that they provide. You do everything you should as a responsible pet owner. Right? Not always.

Arrow Group of Animal Hospitals, veterinary dental care
One of the most overlooked areas of pet care is veterinary dental care of your dogs and cats. Like ourselves, your animals need professional teeth cleaning on a routine basis. In fact, most veterinarians recommend brushing your animal’s teeth and gums at east twice a week! How many of us are guilty of NOT doing that? Depending on the condition of your pet’s teeth, professional cleaning is recommended every 6 to 18 months.

Lack of brushing your pet’s teeth regularly can lead to other oral health issues, like periodontal disease, a common gum infection found in pets. It’s estimated that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease.

An animal’s mouth is very similar to ours. Their teeth are subject to the same problems that we can have, such as abscesses, receding gum lines, bone loss, gingivitis, rotten teeth and periodontal disease. When dental health is not addressed, eventually an animal will need things like root canal surgery and extractions. In severe cases, the bacteria and infection in the mouth will spread to the bloodstream, causing problems in the rest of the body, like the liver, kidneys and heart. In the worst cases, these problems will lead to a shorter life span.

Unfortunately, in our fast-paced lifestyle, regular dental brushings and checkups for our pets is a practice that often gets ignored or forgotten. And on top of it, soaring insurance costs coupled with a crippled economy has left many pet owners with minimal funds for their pet’s dental health needs. It’s become so critical that the American Veterinary Medical Association has declared February its National Pet Dental Health Month.

In Arizona, a group of Valley veterinarians have come together under the Arrow Group of Animal Hospitals banner to help bring about awareness to our dogs’ dental care. All the veterinarians in the group are committed to helping pet owners become more aware and learn the responsibility of taking care of their dogs’ dental needs.

“Sadly, most pets we see for regular physicals also show signs of dental negligence and in some cases, gingivitis,” says Dr. Roger Willms of Glendale, AZ’s Arrow Animal Hospital. “In day-to-day living, dog owners simply have a hard time keeping up with brushing their pet’s teeth. But it’s a major cause of concern. You really have to brush your pet’s teeth at least twice a week to make a difference. Otherwise, you’re not really preventing anything. Our pets need good dental care just as the rest of us do.”

Dr. Willms recommends a few tips to pet owners.

1) Bring your pet to the vet! Don’t wait for an annual checkup if you’re detect bad breath or see infected gums on your pet.

2) Start brushing your pet’s teeth at home and supplement their diet with specially formulated pet foods that assist in limiting plaque and tartar buildup. Look for products that have the ‘Seal of Acceptance’ from the Veterinary Oral Health Council, an organization initiated by the American Veterinary Dental Society to guide consumers. These products meet the standards for limiting plaque and tartar control in dogs and cats.

3) Be regular with your veterinary checkups for your pets. You would do the same for your childrens’ doctor visits, so do the same with your pets. Your veterinarian can monitor the progress of your pet’s dental health routine, and make individual recommendations.

Arrow Group of Animal Hospitals and its 16 affiliated animal hospitals in the Phoenix area are dedicated to the highest care of dogs, cats, and small animals. The doctors are highly-trained in the care of animals, and have undergone extensive training for the dental care of dogs and cats. If you’ve not made a veterinary dental visit recently, contact ArizonaPetVet.com and see one of the doctors from the Arrow Group of Animal Hospitals for all your pet needs.