At Stetson Hills Animal Hospital, your pet’s safety is a huge concern for us. In our area, rattlesnakes are a major concern and there are a number of ways you can ensure your pet’s safety from them. One way is the rattlesnake vaccine, which can help minimize your pet’s reaction to the venom of a rattlesnake bite. We offer this vaccine and boosters at our animal hospital.
Proper Ways to Handle an Encounter with a Rattlesnake
Another way to ensure your pet’s safety is to know what you need to do in the event that you encounter a rattlesnake. Many people ask us about proper handling of rattlesnakes, but it is important to never handle a rattlesnake in any way. Instead, once you recognize the snake you are dealing with and know that it is a rattlesnake, the best thing you can do is walk away from the situation. Some points to remember are:
Slowly walk out of striking distance
Carefully make your way out of the area, keeping your eyes open for other rattlesnakes
In the event that your pet is bitten by a rattlesnake, carry them gently to your vehicle and limit their movement as much as possible. Rattlesnake bites have the potential to be up to 25 times more deadly in pets than in people so your pet should receive emergency medical treatment immediately.
There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed, and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.
How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets, and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.
Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus?
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about the canine influenza vaccine.
What Are the General Signs of Canine Influenza Virus?
While most dogs will show typical signs of kennel cough, but a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Signs of canine influenza virus include:
Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
Loss of appetite
Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.
How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.
How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:
Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
A warm, quiet, and comfortable spot to rest
Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
Workup and treatment for pneumonia
Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, sometimes even hospitalization.
What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus?
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him or her from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.
Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
So far there has been no evidence to indicate that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.
How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease?
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other dogs for 10 to 14 days from the onset of signs. Dogs are most infectious before signs are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for approximately 10 days. This means that by the time signs of the illness are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.
The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.
“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”
In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.
“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”
Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.
There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.
Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time
Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.
Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.
Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.
Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.
Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.
What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?
Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.
The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.
Oral health in dogs and cats
Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.
Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:
broken or loose teeth
extra teeth or retained baby teeth
teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
reduced appetite or refusal to eat
pain in or around the mouth
bleeding from the mouth
swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.
Causes of pet dental problems
Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:
broken teeth and roots
abscesses or infected teeth
cysts or tumors in the mouth
malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
broken (fractured) jaw
palate defects (such as cleft palate)
Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.
It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).
The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.
Why does dentistry require anesthesia?
When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.
Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.
Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.
What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?
Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.
There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.
Pets are like people in many ways, including their need for regular healthcare. Even if your pet never goes outside or seems healthy, that doesn’t necessarily they ARE healthy. If you’re not already taking your pet to the vet on a regular basis, this blog might make you think differently.
Has it been a while since your pet’s seen a vet? If so, schedule an appointment at Stetson Hills Animal Hospital in Glendale, AZ, by calling (623) 889-7090. We offer a number of wellness, preventive, and holistic services for dogs, cats, and pocket pets to keep your companion happy and healthy! Consider the list below of the top four reasons to see a vet, and let us know if you have any questions.
Comprehensive Wellness Exam
All pets should have a comprehensive wellness exam at least once a year as a means of preventive care. These visits allow veterinarians to examine your pet from nose to tail to determine if there are any concerns and provide treatment recommendations if necessary. During these visits, your veterinarian can also create a wellness profile for your pet, which can be used for future visits to determine if there are any health changes. Vaccinations are usually updated during these visits, too, to protect your pet from potentially fatal diseases.
Allergies and Infections
Dogs, cats, rabbits (and other pocket pets) can develop allergies and infections that may need immediate treatment. The symptoms of these conditions are usually quite obvious and visible with the naked eye, including reddened or patchy skin, hair loss, and lumps. With our dermatology services, we can examine your pet’s skin condition so we can provide the best treatment.
Although it would certainly be a sight to see, pets obviously can’t brush their teeth, so maintaining their dental health is the responsibility of the owner. Stetson Hills Animal Hospital offers comprehensive dental services to keep your pet’s mouth in tip top shape and eliminate your pet’s risk for gum disease. Left untreated, this disease can affect your pet’s liver, heart, and kidneys, which can lead to a shortened lifespan. So if you’ve noticed bad breath, bleeding gums, or bumps in your pet’s mouth, it’s time to schedule a dental visit, as these may be signs of gum disease.
No one wants to see their pet in pain or have to resort to invasive procedures to treat it. Luckily, there are veterinary holistic services available to treat pet pain, including acupuncture, nutritional therapy, and Eastern and Western herbal therapy. If your pet seems to be in pain, give us a call to ask how holistic care can help.
Elimination Area. The Single biggest reason for owner dissatisfaction with their cat is house soiling with urine or feces outside of the litter-box. Minimize the chances of this happening in your household by providing one litter-box per cat +1 if at all possible, ideally in various locations throughout the house. The litter-boxes should vary in configuration, with at least one open on top, one at least 2 feet wide by 3 feet long such as a plastic storage container( you can cut a section out of the middle or end of this box to permit easy access). At least one should have fine light, odorless, litter (the most preferred type, on average) and be placed in a quiet area (for those shy/private cats). And lastly- all the litter-boxes should be replaced yearly as smells become impregnated within the plastic and become offensive to the acutely sensitive nose of our cats that permit us to live with them. I know this seems ike a lot of work but it is worth it if it helps avoid the hassle of cleaning messes where they shouldn’t be and avoiding the costs of professional carpet cleaning.
Feeding area. You are going to start to notice a pattern here. Yes, that’s right I am suggesting you have at least one feeding station per cat with possibly one extra as well. Why? Providing the ability for each cat in a multi-cat household to have access to their own elimination, feeding, drinking and resting areas goes a long way in preventing conflict related stress between cats and the resulting misbehaviors that result when cats are stressed. Besides, don’t we want all of our cats to have enjoyable, low stress lives? A little known fact is cats prefer to eat off a plate rather than bowls because they don’t like the ends of their facial whiskers touching the sides of a bowl as they dip their head down to eat. This is also true for their water bowl. From a health standpoint, cats are healthier overall and have a much reduced tendency to become overweight or obese( which is distressingly common and often leads to the development of Diabetes) if they are fed a high protein, low carbohydrate, canned food, preferably in multiple small feedings throughout the day if possible. Food dispensing toys and hiding food in places they need to find adds nice mental stimulation as well as some exercise. By the way, kittens formulate their food preferences early in life. Too many adult cats will only eat one type, brand or flavor of food which can be problematic if a medical condition dictates they should be eating a different food but they refuse to do so. You can help avoid this situation by feeding your kitten a wide variety of flavors, consistencies and brands of foods so they will have ready acceptance to many types including special foods for future medical problems, should they arise.
Drinking Station. One per cat In keeping with our theme is optimal. Again, they prefer drinking from a wide, deep dish rather than a small bowl and they much prefer clean, fresh water at all times. Some cats prefer moving water such as a circulating water fountain; others from a dripping faucet- in this case provide plenty of drinking opportunities throughout the day. No pet should be offered softened water to drink as the sodium levels are not ideal for health.
Play. There are two basic personality types in cats; Active and Shy. Active cats need active toys that squeak, bounce, vibrate, or move randomly. You can imagine it would get frustrating to chase something and never catch it so when using a laser pointer make sure you periodically place a treat down and then move the laser pointer over the treat to allow your cat to “catch” the treat. Shy cats may be afraid of active cat toys. They may bat around a ping pong ball and attack a feather but usually they prefer to play alone. There are supplements and diets that may decrease the general nervousness of these cats enough to help them enjoy playing more than they otherwise would.
Resting area. One per cat is ideal. Cats usually prefer to rest off the ground so having vertical choices of where to rest in ideal such as a cat tree. Shy cats in particular will also enjoy a “hide box” or area they can rest in where they feel they are unseen.
Sensory Enrichment. 50-70% of cats will respond to catnip and the vast majority of these appear to greatly enjoy playing with it( rarely a cat may be over stimulated and become hard to handle or even aggressive). Many cats enjoy grooming or being brushed, watching birds from a bird feeder placed in front of the resting window ledge, and pheromones sprayed in their favored areas of the house.
Scratching post. Cats have an innate need to sharpen their claws. Even cats that have been declawed will go thru the motions of sharpening their claws. Best if they do this on a designated scratching post that you have sprinkled with cat nip of sprayed with car pheromones. Moving your cat’s feet across the scratching post while continuously giving them treats during their otherwise mealtime may help to establish the scratching post use when the urge strikes.
Interactions with other pets. The frequency, intensity and duration of interaction with another pet determine your cat’s tolerance or acceptance of those interactions. This tends to work out best when your cat has a choice, based on the set-up of the home, on whether they have to interact with another pet or not. Providing a vertical space or a hide box, and thus the possibility to withdraw from interaction, if desired, is very helpful in avoiding conflict and resulting stress based misbehaviors.
‘Tis the season for friends, family, and being jolly. The team at Stetson Hills Animal Hospital in Glendale, AZ, wants to keep this season jolly for you and your four-legged friends with the following holiday pet safety tips. We hope you and your family (pets included!) have a wonderful holiday and happy new year!
Pets are curious by nature—especially cats—so tinsel and ribbon are known to draw the attention of many pets during the holidays. If your pet were to eat either of these stringy decorations, it can result in intestinal blockage, which can often be corrected only with surgery. Other potentially dangerous decorations include certain kinds of mistletoe, real Christmas trees (pine needles), and Christmas lights. So keep these decorations out of your pet’s reach and high on your tree, or consider some safer alternatives instead.
Are you throwing a holiday party at your home this year? If so, don’t forget to consider your pet’s safety as you’re busy making your plans. If you decide to leave your pet out to enjoy the fun, make sure your guests are aware of your house rules, such as whether or not you allow your pet to eat table food. If any of your guests are young children, or your pet gets uneasy around large groups of people, it might be best to leave your pet in a separate room. Leave a TV or radio on to create a distraction from the noise of the festivities, and reward your pet with a treat every so often throughout the day to keep them busy.
Toxic Table Food
Your pet is part of the family, and just like the rest of your family, they probably want to partake in your holiday meals, too. Although some table food is safe and healthy for dogs and cats, there are others that are actually toxic to them. On the “toxic” list are foods that contain chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts, and the sugar substitute xylitol. If ingested, these foods can result in vomiting, diarrhea, or worse.
If you have any questions about these pet holiday tips for your dog or cat, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 623-644-7876, and a Stetson Hills Animal Hospital team member will be happy to assist you. We’ll see you in 2016! Happy New Year!
Pets are like people in many ways, including their need for regular health checkups. Stetson Hills Animal Hospital in Glendale, AZ recommends that all dogs and cats receive a comprehensive wellness exam at least once a year. Are you a first-time client to our practice? We have a great veterinary discount for you. For a limited time, your pet can receive their initial wellness exam at the discounted rate of just $22 (regularly priced at $42). That’s a savings of more than 45%!
Does My Pet REALLY Need an Annual Wellness Exam?
If you want your pet to live a long, happy, healthy life, then the answer is YES. Although some pets can go years without a single health concern, others can develop potentially-fatal issues like heart disease, diabetes, and dental disease. There’s not always a way to determine which category YOUR pet will fall in, so skipping the wellness exam is just not worth the risk. Even if your pet appears to be healthy, the wellness exam serves as preventive care—a means of preventing issues from developing later.
Preventive wellness exams allow the doctors at Stetson Hills Animal Hospital to examine your pet from nose to tail to make sure they’re healthy and make note of any areas of concern. Some of the common things we look for include development of periodontal disease, weight gain (which can lead to obesity), hot spots (painful skin lesions), and irregular heart rate. If necessary, we can develop a treatment plan or recommend diagnostic services, depending on our findings.
By bringing your pet to see us at least once a year for a wellness exam, health issues can be caught and treated in their early stages, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment. It also allows you to be proactive about your pet’s health and discuss with our doctors any behavioral or other concerns you may have about your pet.
Other Preventive Pet Services in Glendale, AZ
In addition to the standard nose-to-tail exam at Stetson Hills Animal Hospital, we recommend that your pet receive vaccinations on a regular basis to protect them from potentially-deadly viruses and diseases. These include rabies, feline leukemia, and canine Bordetella. We can customize a vaccination schedule based on your pet’s age, breed, and lifestyle. Some of our other preventive services include:
Brain aging assessment/treatment
Chronic pain assessment/treatment
To take advantage of our $20 discount for first-time clients, give us a call at (623) 889-7090, and be sure to mention the special code “We love pets” to obtain the offer.
Acupuncture is a 3,000 year old healing technique utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine and it was introduced in the U.S. as a viable treatment option for humans within the past 20 years. Now this treatment option is also widely used in veterinary medicine as well and has been shown to be incredibly successful.
Acupuncture works by promoting self-healing through the stimulation of certain sites on the body, called acupoints or acupuncture points. The stimulation of these points is done with tiny, sterile needles inserted carefully into the skin, but can also be performed using other kinds of stimulation such as pressure (through massage), heat, or electrical impulses. At Stetson Hills Animal Hospital, we generally use needle therapy.
How Can Acupuncture Help My Pet?
When your pet is treated with acupuncture, they are being stimulated toward self-healing and will begin feeling better as a result of the treatment. For some pets, several treatments may be required, but for others, effects may be felt after just a single treatment! We can use acupuncture to stimulate healing for a variety of common conditions including:
Selective gastrointestinal problems
Arthritis, intervertebral disk disease and other painful conditions
Selective skin problems
Lick granulomas, allergies, dermatitis
If you pet suffers from these or another painful condition, we would love to talk with you about your pain management options. The Stetson Hills Animal Hospital team can conduct a consultation with you and your pet to determine if acupuncture is a possible treatment option for them. Contact us today to discuss your pet’s needs and let us help you get your pet back to feeling their best!
Our knowledge about animal pain has rapidly advanced in the last 10-15 years. Animals experience pain very similarly to people, but their expression of the pain they are experiencing may vary considerably and be very different from a human.
In general, we have tended to underestimate the degree to which our pets may be experiencing pain on a daily basis and the negative impact this has on their quality of life.
Dr. Cohen has been an active member of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management for 11 years. This organization is devoted to the education and training of Veterinarians in the recognition of, and treatment of pain in our animal family members. Through his participation in this group, Dr. Cohen has been able to acquire an advanced level of skill in managing pain in his patients.
If you suspect your pet has a painful condition, we would be happy to see you and determine a course of action to minimize your pet’s pain.