Vet In Prescott | Prescott Animal Hospital https://prescottanimal.com/ Wed, 29 Dec 2021 05:25:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 Pet Parasites: Protecting Your Family and Pet from Creepy Crawlies https://prescottanimal.com/pet-parasites-protecting-your-family/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 16:55:59 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5629 Internal and external parasites are a constant nuisance and threat to your pets, and in many cases, to you and your family as well. Most parasites are relatively easily picked up and transferred between animals, and many are Zoonotic (meaning they can infect humans as well); thankfully, most are also relatively easy to prevent and [...]

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Internal and external parasites are a constant nuisance and threat to your pets, and in many cases, to you and your family as well. Most parasites are relatively easily picked up and transferred between animals, and many are Zoonotic (meaning they can infect humans as well); thankfully, most are also relatively easy to prevent and protect against. The following is a general overview of some of the most commonly seen pests.

Ectoparasites

Ectoparasites are parasites that live on the outside of the host (your pet). The most common of these include fleas, ticks, and lice. “But we don’t have fleas here in Arizona,” right? FALSE! Fleas and ticks are commonly seen here in Prescott and most other areas of the state. In fact, the Four Corners and Flagstaff areas routinely see fleas that carry the bacteria Yersinia Pestis, which causes the Plague, a disease that can be devastating in humans if not treated promptly. Fleas also routinely carry tapeworm eggs, and when ingested infest the pets intestines – but more on GI parasites later.

Ticks are also more prevalent in this area than people often believe. They thrive on the wildlife and in vegetated areas, and easily find hosts through a process called “questing,” during which they wait at the tips of grasses and leaves until a mammal brushes by, then they quickly climb aboard. Ticks may carry numerous diseases, and though historically Arizona has a low prevalence of many of these diseases (I.E. Lyme disease) case numbers of illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever have been on the rise in recent years according to the Centers for Disease Control and the Arizona Department of Health.

Internal Parasites

These are numerous and come in many shapes and sizes. From protozoal single celled organisms to large worms, many of these parasites are contracted through direct contact – meaning consumption of an infected animal, or fecal-oral transmission via ingestion of fecal matter, as most parasite eggs are shed in the feces.

Gastrointestinal worms include roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms; those first three are relatively easily transmitted from an infested pet to you. The following table (courtesy of Merck Manual) discusses transmission and possible clinical signs that may be present when people are infected:

Heartworms are different in that they take up residence in the blood vessels around the heart and lungs. These parasites are deadly for pets, as they interfere with blood flow and lead to changes in the heart over time. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, and while we do not have a high prevalence of the disease in Yavapai County, we do still see cases and we recommend that dogs remain on preventative medication year-round.

Testing and Prevention

We recommend patients have an exam twice yearly. During these exams your pets are checked for external parasites. A fecal should also be performed to check for parasite eggs, and a deworming protocol will be determined based on the specific results.

A blood parasite test should be performed prior to starting monthly heartworm preventative, and every other year thereafter as long as the patient is on consistent preventative. If a patient is unable to take the monthly medication due to health or other concerns, the blood parasite test should be performed every 6 months to monitor for evidence of infection. This test specifically checks for heartworms, as well as the more prevalent tick borne diseases.

Healthy animals have as few parasites as possible; there are numerous flea and tick preventatives as well as heartworm and gastrointestinal worm preventatives available to keep patients healthy. The best parasite prevention and treatment protocol is one made with your veterinarian, together we will make decisions to keep your pet healthy and happy, and without unwanted guests.

Ashley Joy, DVM
Prescott Animal Hospital

 

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Pet Poison Prevention: Household Toxins https://prescottanimal.com/household-toxins/ Thu, 01 Mar 2018 12:06:32 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5623 While many of us use seemingly harmless ingredients and items to clean, cook and decorate our homes, there are several which can be quite harmful and even deadly to our pets. It’s important to know which every day, household items can put our furry friends at risk. It’s not only chemicals or cleaners but many [...]

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While many of us use seemingly harmless ingredients and items to clean, cook and decorate our homes, there are several which can be quite harmful and even deadly to our pets. It’s important to know which every day, household items can put our furry friends at risk. It’s not only chemicals or cleaners but many foods and plants can be toxic as well. The following includes, but is by no means limited to some of the most common toxicities we see in our veterinary profession.

Foods

We regularly express and show our love by making and sharing food not only for family but for our animals also. However, you need to know there are certain “treats” which should be avoided as they can cause extreme illness for our animal companions.

  • Alcohol and Bread Dough: alcohol should never be given under any circumstance as it can lead to vomiting/diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death. Bread poses 2 threats; one mechanical and one biochemical. Mechanically the yeast in the bread, when consumed stimulates yeast growth because of the warm and moist environment the digestive system provides. This “rising of the dough” can result in expansion and dilation of your pet’s stomach and when severe enough, can result in respiratory/vascular failure or cause a twisting of their stomach. Biochemically, yeast rising causes a release of alcohol and the above symptoms can be triggered.
  • Chocolate/Coffee/Caffeine: these products contain chemicals known as methylxanthines which can affect the central nervous system, kidneys, heart and muscles. Typically, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. Symptoms of ingestion can range from very mild (upset stomach/vomiting) to very severe (seizures and death).
    Grapes and Raisins: can cause kidney failure.
  • Onions/Chives/Garlic: these tasty seasonings can cause vomiting and diarrhea at the minimum, while the more severe side effects include blood cell damage and anemias.
    Nuts: delicious because of their high fat content but can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis in our pets. Macadamia nuts need to be particularly avoided as they can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and fevers.
  • Raw Foods/Bones/Eggs: like the risks humans face when eating raw food, undercooked meats and egg can possibly cause food-borne illnesses. Salmonella and E. coli are common contaminants found in raw foods, which can lead to gastrointestinal upsets. Bones pose a chocking and foreign body hazard especially if they get lodged or puncture the intestines. Raw eggs can block B vitamins from being absorbed and can lead to skin and coat issues.
  • Xylitol: a common sugar-free product used to sweeten many items, most notably gum and candy. Often harmless to humans but in dogs can cause significant illness. Signs can include vomiting, weakness, ataxia, depression, seizures, and coma. Another major concern is that xylitol can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar leading to hypoglycemia. It can also cause liver damage. Always check groceries for this ingredient, especially if your pooch is prone to investigating the cabinets, cupboards and pantries.

Plants

Numerous families enjoy adding color, aroma and greenery to their home, however as beautiful as some plants may be, they can pose quite a threat to our pets.

  • Castor Beans: these are highly toxic and the main ingredient, ricin, blocks protein synthesis leading to cell death. First noted symptoms can include loss of appetite, excessive thirst, weakness/lethargy, abdominal pain, trembling/incoordination, difficulty breathing, and fever. As symptoms progress, bloody diarrhea may occur, and convulsions and coma can precede death.
  • Lilies: unique in that cats are affected by the toxic properties. Symptoms start with lethargy, vomiting and anorexia but can rapidly progress to kidney failure. All parts of the plant are toxic.
  • Oleander and Foxglove: drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting/diarrhea of which may be bloody, depression, and possible death. Heart arrhythmias are also a possibility.
  • Poinsettia: most often gastrointestinal upsets are seen but irritations of the mouth and stomach can also occur.
  • Tulips: vomiting/diarrhea, depression and hypersalivation (drooling). Highest concentrations of toxin are found in the bulb.

Human Medications

While several human medications are extrapolated over to veterinary medicine, there are some which when ingested can be deadly, even ones considered over-the-counter. Never give your personal medications without guidance from your veterinarian.

  • Decongestants/Pseudoephedrine: products like Afrin, Clear Eyes (to name a couple) can cause vomiting, panting, depression/weakness/drowsiness, nervousness, hyperactivity/agitation and shaking.
  • Marijuana: ataxia, vomiting, lethargy, and urinary incontinence are most common but occasionally hyperactivity/stimulation can occur. Cardiac and body temperature changes can be seen, as well as tremors.
  • Pain Meds/NSAIDS/Anti-inflammatories: more commonly known as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, (Tylenol, Advil and Aleve); these are extremely accessible and readily used in households. Ingestion of these products can have serious side effects, however. They can often start with vomiting/diarrhea, lethargy or facial and paw edema but can rapidly progress to more complicated symptoms: stomach and intestinal bleeding, changes in body temperature, kidney failure, liver failure, anemias, seizures and death.

Household Toxins

These everyday items have the potential for very serious side effects.

  • Cigarettes/Nicotine Patches/E-cigarettes: these all have the potential to produce severe vomiting, depression, an elevated heart rate, decrease in blood pressure, seizures, respiratory failure and, in severe cases, even death.
  • Dryer Sheets: on initial ingestion can cause digestive upsets, excessive drooling, mouth and esophageal ulcerations and fevers. If many are ingested, then a risk of foreign body obstruction may be possible.
  • Essential Oils: while toxic to both dogs and cats, cats do seem more sensitive. Symptoms of ingestion and topical application include nausea, depression or lethargy and in severe cases, liver damage. Not all essential oils are created equal and some pose stronger threats than others. Always utilize caution when using them around pets.
  • Rodent Bait: several are available, and each can cause different side effects. The most common rodenticides cause anti-coagulation or inability to clot which lead to internal and external bleeding. However, other side effects include weakness, tremors, seizures, kidney failure, paralysis, brain damage and death. ALWAYS contact poison control or your veterinarian if your pet had consumed rodenticide.

When to Contact a Veterinarian

As mentioned above, the items listed are not exhaustive but are to serve as an informational guide. If you suspect or know your pet has encountered a toxin, contact your veterinarian immediately. They are equipped with information regarding poisons, best treatment protocols and prognoses based on individual cases. Another wonderful and helpful source of the household is the ASPCA. They have an extremely informative and reliable website pertaining to several poisons. They also have a mobile app for pet parents which scales the severity of most toxins found. If you cannot find a specific poison, the ASPCA has a poison control hotline which can be called 24/7/365.

However, even with these many resources available, the best cure is prevention and avoidance. If you know you have a curious critter, please take extra steps to ensure chemicals and medications are stored properly and food cabinets locked. And while we all know accidents happen, if you’re ever unsure (or sure) of a toxin/poison threat, please never hesitate to call you veterinarian for advice. We are always happy to help! Also, any “extras” you can bring us; pictures, labels, time/date any of these incidents, can greatly expedite treatment and recovery.

Sara N. Armon, DVM
Prescott Animal Hospital

 

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Pet Dental Health https://prescottanimal.com/pet-dental-health/ Tue, 30 Jan 2018 20:23:51 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5609 Dental health is an important part of your pet’s overall health. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to chronic infections, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease and chronic pain. Having a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning under anesthesia is one of the best investments you can make in your pet’s overall health. Periodontal disease is one [...]

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Dental health is an important part of your pet’s overall health. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to chronic infections, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease and chronic pain. Having a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning under anesthesia is one of the best investments you can make in your pet’s overall health.

Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases in our pets. The good news is that it is completely preventable.

What is Periodontal Disease?

So what is periodontal disease and what are the clinical signs we as pet owners can see or smell? Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth forms plaque which will mineralized with saliva to form tartar. Tartar on the surface of the teeth can be seen but it is not the cause of periodontal disease. The real problem begins when the tartar progresses beneath the gumline causing gum recession, bone loss, loose teeth, bone infections and even fractures of the jaw. Signs to look for in your pet include: bad breath, broken teeth, reluctance to eat or chew toys, chewing on one side of mouth, pawing at the mouth, drooling, facial swelling, nasal discharge or sneezing. If you notice any of these signs we recommend scheduling an appointment to see if your pet may need a comprehensive dental cleaning.

What does a dental cleaning entail?

A dental process begins with an oral exam by a veterinarian and intraoral radiographs (x-rays) to evaluate the health of the jaw and tooth roots below the gumline. Most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where it can’t be seen and in order to evaluate appropriately the patient must be under anesthesia. A comprehensive cleaning is then done by ultrasonic scaling to remove the plaque and tartar on the crown of the teeth and below the gumline. This process is very similar to the regular cleaning you receive from your dental hygienist. Then if needed during the procedure oral surgery will be performed to extract (remove) any diseased teeth.

Is anesthesia safe during a dental cleaning?

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the best dental cleaning because your pet is not moving around or feeling any pain. Unlike us they don’t understand the importance of the dental procedure and can’t communicate exactly which tooth hurts. Without anesthesia your pet would react by moving, trying to escape or even biting. It may be scary and may cause anxiety to some owners to consider having their pet under anesthesia. Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so the risks are lower and far outweighs the benefits. Most pets go home the same day of the procedure. Any fears or anxieties about your pet and anesthesia can be discussed with your veterinarian.

What can I do at home to help keep my pet’s teeth clean?

Prevention of periodontal disease before and after a dental cleaning can benefit your pet. Things you can do at home include daily brushing of your pet’s teeth using a toothpaste special formulated for animals. If daily brushing is not possible a couple times a week can still be beneficial. In some cases, brushing may not be possible, especially in cats. We here at PAH can help by offering an alternative in the form of appropriate dental treats or diets to help reduce the plaque and tartar load. Nothing replaces brushing but there are benefits to these alternatives.

If you are concerned that your pet may be suffering from periodontal disease the first thing to do is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. If your Veterinarian determines that your pet needs a dental cleaning remember this is the best investment you could make into the health of your pet.

Amie M. Dow, DVM
Prescott Animal Hospital

 

 

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Fear Free Veterinary Visits https://prescottanimal.com/fear-free-veterinary-visits/ Wed, 03 Jan 2018 18:06:11 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5602 We know veterinary visits can be stressful for both you and your pet. Can you imagine telling your dog, “Let’s go to the vet!” and seeing her tail wag? How about getting out your cat’s carrier and seeing him come running? We are proud to have Fear Free Certified Professionals on our team. The Fear [...]

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We know veterinary visits can be stressful for both you and your pet. Can you imagine telling your dog, “Let’s go to the vet!” and seeing her tail wag? How about getting out your cat’s carrier and seeing him come running?

We are proud to have Fear Free Certified Professionals on our team. The Fear Free training and certification program helps veterinarians modify their procedures, handling, and facilities to help pets feel safe and comfortable while receiving the medical care they need. To become certified, veterinarians and veterinary staff are required to complete a comprehensive, 8-part educational course and exam. They also have to take continuing education to remain certified.

What does Fear Free mean for your pets?

During a visit at our hospital our team will actively work to reduce your pet’s stress. Here are a few strategies that might be used throughout your visit:

  • Initially avoid eye contact with your pet and focus on you instead
  • Providing non-slip surfaces for your pet to stand or rest on
  • Using pheromone diffusers and aromatherapy to create a calming environment
  • Reduce stressful and loud noises

About Fear Free

Developed by “America’s Veterinarian,” Dr. Marty Becker, the Fear FreeSM initiative aims to “take the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified’” and get pets back for veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments. Utilization of Fear Free methods and protocols leads to reduction or removal of anxiety triggers, which creates an experience that is rewarding and safer for all involved including pets, their owners, and veterinary health care teams. Learn more at www.fearfreepets.com.

 

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Senior Pet Care https://prescottanimal.com/senior-pet-care/ Wed, 01 Nov 2017 15:00:55 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5566 “Love does not change, no matter how many dog years go by.” -Amanda Jones (Dog Years: Faithful Friends, Then and Now) I often thumb through this book looking at the comparison of puppy and senior pictures and reading the impact these dogs have on their human’s lives. Tears come easily as I relish in the [...]

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“Love does not change, no matter how many dog years go by.”
-Amanda Jones (Dog Years: Faithful Friends, Then and Now)

I often thumb through this book looking at the comparison of puppy and senior pictures and reading the impact these dogs have on their human’s lives. Tears come easily as I relish in the relationships and love I see in these photographs. Many of you currently have senior pets and my goal as a veterinarian is to help keep their golden years great!

What is a senior pet?

So, what is a senior pet? First we need to consider that animal ages vary considerably between breeds. Cats generally have a longer average lifespan than dogs, and small breed dogs tend to live longer than larger breeds. The average cat is considered senior at around 11 years of age. A small dog may be considered senior at age 9, a medium-sized dog at age 7 and a larger breed dog at age 5 or 6.

Common Conditions for Senior Pets

It is true and often said that age is not a disease, but senior pets like senior people develop age related problems. There are some common conditions and clinical signs we as owners can monitor in our senior pets. Changes and disease that are more prevalent in senior pets are: vision defects, hearing loss, dental disease, cognitive dysfunction, kidney disease, cancer and arthritis. Clinical signs to look for in your aging pet include: changes in body weight, decrease or no appetite, increased water consumption, decreased activity level or difficulty getting around, new lumps or bumps, difficulty breathing or coughing, a foul odor from the mouth or body, and changes in behavior.

Routine Exams

As a veterinarian, I recommend that healthy senior dogs and cats be examined every six months. Scheduling these regular wellness exams is one of the most important steps you can take to keep your senior pet healthy. Early detection of any disease can lead to early intervention and if possible better outcomes to treatment. Complete diagnostic efforts are essential, because in senior pets, diseases frequently occur in multiple body systems. Routine monitoring is particularly helpful so that baselines can be established or trends can be followed. This helps us recognize diseases as soon as possible.

Amie M. Dow, DVM
Prescott Animal Hospital

 

 

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Understanding Pet Obesity…is bigger always better? https://prescottanimal.com/understanding-pet-obesity/ Wed, 04 Oct 2017 21:38:03 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5526 Obesity occurs worldwide and unfortunately humans are not the only ones affected. Our beloved pets also suffer from weight problems. It’s estimated that 25% to 44% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese and with an astounding 63% of cats being considered overweight or obese. Causes of Obesity/Overweight As in humans, calorie [...]

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Obesity occurs worldwide and unfortunately humans are not the only ones affected. Our beloved pets also suffer from weight problems. It’s estimated that 25% to 44% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese and with an astounding 63% of cats being considered overweight or obese.

Causes of Obesity/Overweight

As in humans, calorie output must equal or exceed calorie input to maintain or lose weight. When the balance is shifted to the reverse, calorie input exceeds calorie output, weight is added to the body. As most dogs are considered companions vs working dogs (field trials, herders, walking/running partners, agility), they are prone to weight problems throughout their lives. Cats are even more prone to weight gain as often they are not involved in the activities mentioned above and can be difficult to motivate to exercise. While overeating is a major factor is in weight gain, this is not the only cause; there are several influences at play.

Signalment (breed, age, gender): certain breeds are more prone to weight gain than others. Labradors, Dachshunds, Shelties, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Carin Terriers have been shown to be predisposed to weight gain. As our companions age, adding weight is much easier than when they were younger; dogs over 2 years are at risk of obesity. Aging tends to slow down metabolic rate and decrease lean body mass. Aging is also associated with certain disease processes (arthritis) that can interfere with weight loss. Obesity tends to be seen more in females than males.

Food: pet diets have changed drastically over the years, mostly for the better. These changes have led to better tasting and better-quality diets. With better tasting food comes natural behaviors from our companions…begging for more food, treats, and overindulging at the bowl or feeder. Many treats now available also have high fat contents and/or are given in excess to recommendations. Competition for food within a multi-pet household can also lead to obesity. Access to table food contributes to obesity as well.

Lack of Exercise: this unfortunately, often parallels our sedentary lifestyle. It is recommended that our pets receive 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise mixed with 1 to 2 hours of activity daily (this varies with breed, age, weight and outside temperature).

Surgical Alteration: spaying and neutering can lead to excess weight.

Metabolic Disorders: some medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, can cause weight gain despite adequate caloric control.

Consequences and Complications of Obesity

Studies are showing that excess weight can have detrimental effects on our furry friends. The top 5 medical consequences are described below, along with a list of other complications.

Dogs

Poor quality of and quantity of life – slimmer and leaner dogs were shown to live almost 2 years longer than their overweight counterparts. They also had a delayed onset of chronic illness; this means we may get to spend more years with companions if we maintain a healthy body weight. One study has also shown an improvement in the quality of our pet’s lives when they are leaner; they have increased energy, less emotional disturbances and overall decreased pain.

Osteoarthritis (OA) – known more commonly as arthritis. Frequently seen as discomfort/difficulty in getting up and down, struggling to climb stairs, shorter walks and play times or often described as “slowing down”, this can drastically influence daily living. Joints with OA are unhealthy joints and obesity contributes and exacerbates this unhealthiness. It is also speculated that being overweight can lead to an earlier onset to OA in some animals. Healthy weight acts as a preventative and treatment of arthritis; regularly the first step in alleviating pain and lameness associated with OA is weight loss.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) – a painful medical condition where the cushioning disc between the back vertebrae start to bulge or herniate into the spinal cord space. Obesity can lead to unwanted additional stress on these discs or lead to the bulging of the disc. Dachshunds are the most represented breed with this condition, however any breed can be affected.

Subclinical Disease – these are diseases that are not yet evident and often undetectable visually but can be brought on by obesity. Often blood tests are needed to help diagnose these conditions.

Cardiopulmonary Effects – heart rates, ability to exercise, as well as breathing can all be affected by extra weight. Some conditions known to be linked to obesity are collapsing trachea and laryngeal paralysis; both of which can be eased with weight loss.

Cats

Diabetes Mellitus – this is one of the most strongly related medical conditions to obesity. There is a decrease in insulin sensitivity, meaning the body does not respond to high sugar levels in the body appropriately. Maintaining a healthy weight can be preventative and treatment for diabetes. In fact, weight loss the backbone of treatment for diabetic cats and increases the likelihood of achieving remission!

Urinary Disease – obesity may play a role in overall urinary health. Excess weight may lead bladder infections, inflammation, or stone formation. Weight loss with an active lifestyle can help prevent and treat some of these conditions.

Osteoarthritis – same as in the dog.

Subclinical Disease – obesity is suspected to predispose and aggravate diseases that are not yet evident in our pets.

Poor Quality and Quantity of Life – same as in the dog; leaner bodies help alleviate pain, lameness and help with longevity.

Other Conditions

Several other conditions known to be caused or complicated by obesity include but are not limited to:

  • Decreased or lowered immune system
  • Exercise and heat intolerance
  • Hypertension
  • Fertility or breeding difficulties
  • Increased risks of specific types of cancer
  • Skin infections
  • Increased difficulty performing surgery
  • Complications associated with anesthesia

Treating Obesity

Prevention is the best cure when it comes to our pets being overweight or obese. Because there are many approaches to weight loss, it is recommended that a weight loss program be initiated under the supervision of your veterinarian. With a thorough history on your pet’s nutrition, exercise and health status; a veterinarian can help tailor what will work best your individual dog or cat.

Sara N. Armon, DVM
Prescott Animal Hospital

 

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The Unseen Enemy https://prescottanimal.com/pet-parasites/ Tue, 05 Sep 2017 18:59:35 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5149 Parasites There are a wide variety of parasites, both internal and external in Yavapai County and Arizona that pose a potential health risk to your pets.  Many people are offended by the suggestion that their pets might have worms or fleas.  They don’t realize that all cats and dogs are very susceptible.  Dogs, especially, get [...]

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Parasites

There are a wide variety of parasites, both internal and external in Yavapai County and Arizona that pose a potential health risk to your pets.  Many people are offended by the suggestion that their pets might have worms or fleas.  They don’t realize that all cats and dogs are very susceptible.  Dogs, especially, get worms because of their animal behaviors like sniffing and licking disgusting things.  They walk in the environment, pick up microscopic eggs, then lick their feet ingesting the eggs and even lick your face. Our pets often hunt, kill, and eat birds, rodents and rabbits even in our own backyards.  They eat rabbit poop and roll in raccoon droppings just for fun.  Almost ALL wildlife are hosts to parasites, and the parasite eggs can survive for long periods of time in the grass or soil – waiting for a pet to come along and pick them up.   

Fleas

The most common external parasite of dogs and cats in North America is the flea (Ctencephalides felis).  Yes, Prescott does indeed have fleas. This is because we have a diverse topography with bodies of water and we live mobile lifestyles.  Fleas actually can be rather fascinating.  They are one nature’s more resilient species; one of those that could survive a nuclear holocaust along with the cockroaches.  An infestation with fleas can result in a number of problems for pets, including itching, hair loss, anemia, and tapeworms. When a flea bites a pet, they cause an itchy allergic reaction that can become quite severe.  Also fleas are the definitive host for the Tapeworm, and a pet with fleas has a high chance of having a tapeworm infestation.  That’s why it’s so much better to prevent fleas than to wait until an infestation occurs.    

Ticks

The most common tick species here is the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus). Ticks carry several serious diseases, including Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted-Fever, and Anaplasmosis.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of all U.S. states reported more than 500 Lyme-positive dogs.  We routinely screen pets for these issues at least every 2 years with a blood parasite test.  The CDC actually monitors these diseases because of the potential crossover into the human world.   Dogs and cats encounter ticks in their natural environment.  These diseases ticks carry can easily be prevented by yearlong tick prevention.

Heartworms

Heartworm is a disease driven by mosquitoes, and there are 1 million new canine heartworm cases in the United States each year.  Heartworm disease has slowly spread north from its origin in the southeastern United States and is now found in every one of the 50 states.  Heartworms migrate from a mosquito bite site to the chambers of the heart.  They can cause blockage of blood flow through the heart and can lead to death.  You can easily prevent heartworm with current preventatives.  It is recommended that even on prevention to have your pet tested for heartworm every other year to monitor for resistance.

Learn more about Heartworm Disease >>

Gastrointestinal Parasites (Roundworms, Hookworms, etc.)

Protecting the pet means protecting the family, too.  A number of roundworms & hookworms are zoonotic, which means they affect humans too.  Roundworm eggs are often deposited in the places where children play, increasing the risk for children and visiting grandchildren. Over 1 million people – mostly children – contract roundworms every year causing blindness and abdominal pain. Cockroaches and other household pests are known to carry hookworms.  Hookworms can migrate in human skin and make people very ill.  In dogs and cats, these intestinal parasites cause gastrointestinal disease to include vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal blockage and weight loss.

Prevention

In the past treatments and prevention of these parasites were not very safe.   We, as consumers tend to think if a product is available at the grocery store, it’s safe but that is not always true.  Unfortunately the EPA receives thousands of reports of adverse reactions and even deaths yearly from over-the-counter parasite products.  Each generation of these products is safer, more effective and easier to administer than the previous one.  Through a prescription by your veterinarian specified to your animal’s weight, you can be assured the safest and most effective flea, tick, heartworm and other parasite prevention available. Currently, in our practice we offer both topical and oral preventatives for these parasites.  We recommend either Sentinel or Heartgard for heartworm and intestinal parasites in combination with either topical Frontline Plus or oral Bravecto for fleas and ticks.  Using these measures year round we can keep our pets and families together and safer.

Cameron S. Dow, DVM
Prescott Animal Hospital

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What Do Veterinarians Do? https://prescottanimal.com/what-do-veterinarians-do/ Thu, 03 Aug 2017 20:27:24 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5490 The common line given when you ask people “What do veterinarians do?” is something along the lines of “They take care of and treat animals.” Yes, it is true that veterinarians are responsible for wellness and diagnostic care of animals, including exams, vaccines, surgery, evaluating blood work, diagnostic tests and prescribing medications. But veterinarians do [...]

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The common line given when you ask people “What do veterinarians do?” is something along the lines of “They take care of and treat animals.” Yes, it is true that veterinarians are responsible for wellness and diagnostic care of animals, including exams, vaccines, surgery, evaluating blood work, diagnostic tests and prescribing medications. But veterinarians do a whole lot more than “take care of animals.”

Veterinarians are Teachers

Veterinarians are also teachers, which requires the ability to convey understanding and motivation. Veterinarians are responsible for educating and encouraging people to offer the best care for their animals. Everything from daily nutrition and exercise needs to blood work values and advanced surgical procedures are discussed each day, multiple times a day.

Veterinarians Explain the Un-explainable

As with all science, veterinary medicine can respond in unexpected ways. No medication, treatment plan or vaccine is effective 100% of the time. When a pet’s treatment plan does not go as expected, veterinarians are responsible for explaining the situation and outcome to clients.

Veterinarians Build Relationships

Veterinary care is as much a “people business” as an animal and healing profession. Our veterinarians build life-long relationships with both people and their pets. Long term relationships help people trust veterinarians and recommendations for their pets care. With on-going relationships veterinarians can help influence people to do things that may seem too intimidating, but are imperative for their pet’s well-being, such as giving insulin injections to their diabetic pet.

Veterinarians are Coaches

Veterinarians are responsible for discussing end of life care and the euthanasia decision with people. It is not easy to tell people that their pet has a terminal illness, even if they have been suspecting it for a while. Veterinarians help coach people through the last moments of their pet’s lives.

 

Learn more about our veterinarians >>

 

 

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Are cats low maintenance pets? https://prescottanimal.com/are-cats-low-maintenance/ Mon, 05 Jun 2017 20:06:33 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5454 Cats are often seen as the low maintenance pet. I will say, in some cases this is true. They can require very little from humans. Just the basics: food, water, shelter. This can lead to little or no development of a human/animal bond. However, although cats require very little does not mean that they do [...]

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Cats are often seen as the low maintenance pet. I will say, in some cases this is true. They can require very little from humans. Just the basics: food, water, shelter. This can lead to little or no development of a human/animal bond. However, although cats require very little does not mean that they do not yearn for more of our attention. You will find, if you give more than “maintenance” or above the basics, you will get more than a furry face around the house. You will be gifted with a companion who provides love and hours of entertainment.

When you have this companion, of course, it is important to keep them healthy and visit the veterinarian routinely.

Preventative Care

Preventative care starts at kitten-hood with having the proper testing, vaccinations, and nutrition from a young age to help ensure health. Due to being seen as a low maintenance pet, preventative care is often over looked in our feline companions. Cats should have an exam at least once a year, just like our canine companions. At these exams the veterinarian is looking for potential problems, and updated vaccinations.

Dental disease is a common disease found in young to middle age cats. This disease is almost entirely preventable. Teeth brushing, oral chews, mouth rinses/sprays and water additives are some of the techniques that can be used in order to prevent dental disease. If you are using an oral chew for your cat keep in mind that the chew needs to be large enough that you vat has to chew on it. The vast majority of dental chews/treats are too small, as they are rarely much larger than any kibble size.

Top 3 Diseases in Aging Cats

Although cats may seem like a low maintenance pet, they can get many diseases. The top three diseases seen primarily in aging cats are Kidney Disease, Diabetes, and Hyperthyroidism. These are insidious diseases. They take some time to manifest themselves. All three have similar clinical signs particularly when first coming on. These can include change in eating habits (increased or decreased), drinking more and urinating more, and weight loss. If you notice any change in your cat, it is important to visit a veterinarian. When diagnosed early these diseases can respond well to management.

Fear Free Veterinary Visits

We know it can be anxious and stressful for both the owners and the cats when they have to go see a veterinarian. When the stress of a veterinary visit is reduced, our feline companions can receive better health care. Here are some tips to help reduce the stress of your next veterinary visit:

Before the visit
Prior to the visit there may need to be a phone consultation about how much anxiety your cat has. Some cats and their owners have so much anxiety about the experience that it really starts at home. Making the carrier part of your cats life from the beginning it always helpful. Make it a comfy sleeping place or where they eat their meals.

In cats that already dislike their carrier, this technique can be difficult or not as fruitful. Use pheromones like Feliway to spray in the carrier and on blankets to calm your cat. In other scenarios it maybe necessary to give a sedative or an anxiolytic medication prior to appointments. Practicing for trips is also helpful not only for trips to the veterinarian, but in case there is an emergency.

Traveling to the visit

  • Choose the correct carrier.
    It should be a carrier that can be taken apart easily, but when put back together it is stable. The carrier should not be overly large. It should be easy to carry and have just enough room to lay down comfortably. Remember this carrier is for travel and not a living space.
  • Use a pheromone spray, such as Feliway, to help with travel.
  • Keep stimulus to a minimum. Do not play music in the car or keep it turned down. Cover the carrier to prevent visual stimuli.

During visit
Cover the carrier in the hospital lobby and try to keep in a quiet place. If the hospital is very noisy, staying in the vehicle with climate control until the appointment time or waiting in an examination room maybe helpful.

Here at Prescott Animal Hospital, we take extra steps to ensure your visit is as fear-free as possible. Some of our team members have completed specialized training to become a Certified Fear Free Professional. Learn more about Fear Free veterinary visits >>

Raenell Killian, DVM
Prescott Animal Hospital
 
 

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Itching and Scratching… dog gone it! https://prescottanimal.com/pet-allergies/ Mon, 01 May 2017 21:07:57 +0000 https://prescottanimal.com/?p=5441 Itching and scratching is by far one of the most common reasons that pets and their humans make a trip in to see the veterinarian. While Fido certainly has a hard time sleeping at night while fighting the itch, they can keep everyone in the house up with scratching and licking through the wee hours. [...]

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Itching and scratching is by far one of the most common reasons that pets and their humans make a trip in to see the veterinarian. While Fido certainly has a hard time sleeping at night while fighting the itch, they can keep everyone in the house up with scratching and licking through the wee hours. Allergies are a likely cause of the trouble, and fortunately there are many tricks of the trade that can help our furry friends through the problem.

 

Pet Allergies

An allergy develops after a pet has been exposed to a substance, and the body develops a state of over reactivity or hypersensitivity. Over time this results in sensitization and an inappropriate response when exposed to the allergen, or allergic substance. Exposure to the allergen results in the activation of the immune system and release of histamine causing redness, swelling, and itching. We do not fully understand why some pets (and humans) develop allergies while others do not, but there is an inherited component, as some allergies seem to run in families. Allergies can be due to environmental allergens, such as plants and insects, or food allergies. Many pets experience some level of itching year-round, but often experience a seasonal worsening in the spring and fall as this is time of year with the highest pollen counts for the Prescott area. For example, while many humans are allergic to juniper in the early spring and react with itchy noses and watery eyes, our furry friends will react with itchy bellies and feet.

 

How are pet allergies diagnosed?

A diagnosis of allergies starts with a good history and physical exam. Allergies in pets present slightly differently than in humans, as the most common presentation is itching of the abdomen, ears, and feet. Less commonly a dog may show a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, or coughing. The most common time of first presentation for allergies is 1-3 years of age. A veterinarian can help assess the timing of the itching, the pattern, and any underlying conditions that may be contributing. In many cases the history will help guide therapy as well, as the therapy for seasonal allergies will vary from a pet who is itchy year-round. It is important to rule out issues such as external parasites and skin infections that may be complicating or causing the itch. Allergy testing is available either by intradermal, or skin testing, or by submitting a blood test that will evaluate your pet’s response and sensitivity to a panel of antigens. Each allergy panel is specific to our geographic area, to include allergens that dogs in the southwest are most likely to be exposed to.

 

How do you treat pet allergies?

Goals of treatment for allergies include decreasing exposure to known allergens, providing skin support to defend against allergens, providing relief of the itch itself, and most of all, decreasing the body’s immune response to the allergens. For most pets there is no “magic bullet” that provides perfect relief, but often it is necessary to combine therapies to create a plan to works.

  • Antihistamines: There are some over the counter medications that are a great option to try, however dogs do not seem to respond to them as well as humans as their allergy mechanism differs slightly from ours. About 30% of dogs will show a response to antihistamines, but for those pets that see even a partial response, this is a helpful option.
  • Flea/tick Prevention: Parasites are more common in the Prescott area than often thought, so it is recommended to treat any pet with itching with a flea and tick preventative to make sure any “no see-um’s” are not contributing to the itch problem.
  • Topical Treatments: A large variety of shampoos, sprays, and skin support products are available which serve two functions: to remove allergens from the skin and fur where they are a source of constant exposure, and to help improve the skin’s health so it may serve as a barrier against exposure. Weekly bathing with a quality allergy shampoo is helpful for some pets, and some pets also benefit from a brief “wipe down” with a washcloth when coming in from playing outside to remove any pesky pollens. Contrary to popular belief, it is not recommended to use oatmeal shampoo for allergic pets. While oatmeal shampoo classically is used for itching, it can be drying to a pet’s skin, which can break down the skin barrier and make itching worse.

  • Skin Support: In addition to topical therapy, skin support supplements that contain omega fatty acids can be helpful in helping to maintain healthy skin that is able to fight off allergies.
  • Prescription Products: While steroid therapy has historically been the cornerstone of allergy therapy, there has been a stream of new research and development to provide options to treat pet allergies more safely and specifically. Both injectable and oral therapies are now available that serve to decrease the allergic response and dampen the pet’s “itch pathway.” In addition, after allergy testing some pets can benefit from allergy immunotherapy, which is a schedule of desensitization medications that are tailored to a pet’s specific allergy profile.
  • Food Trial: Food allergies can present most commonly as itching of the ears, feet, and belly, and less commonly chronic vomiting and diarrhea. The most common food allergies are known to be beef, chicken, and dairy, although other proteins can cause a problem as well. The most reliable method of determining if your pet is suffering from food allergies is to complete a food trial. A food trial consists of feeding a pet either a “novel” protein diet of something foreign to the pet such as duck, or venison, or a “hydrolyzed” diet which is broken down to a state that is no longer allergenic to the dog. A diet trial must be strictly followed for 6-8 weeks, as food allergy is severely delayed in dogs, and exposure to an allergic protein can cause itching for several weeks.

Sadly for our pets, allergies and itching can be a complicated web of causes and potential treatments. But help is available in many forms, and we strive to find a plan that provides relief to everyone. It is critical to correctly diagnose the problem, and determine if any underlying or complicating issues are  contributing to your pet’s discomfort. If your pet is suffering from itching and scratching, contact us to schedule your pets exam today!

 
Megan S. Munis, DVM
Prescott Animal Hospital
 
 

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