Animal Hospital News

Hedgehog Hibernation Alert!

posted by Dr. Deb on December 1st, 2016 in Other

Image result for hedgehog in sackDon’t let your hedgie get cold!

Pet African pygmy hedgehogs need to be kept warm in the winter to prevent hibernation!  Hibernation is actually dangerous for African Pygmy hedgehogs.  It slows their metabolism down, leaving them susceptible to infections, dehydration and starvation.  It’s important to keep your hedgehog in an environment between 72 and 80 degrees.  This is not always comfortable for us humans.  We often keep our homes cooler in the winter than is healthy for our pet hedgies.

Click here for a great article on suggestions om providing your hedgie some supplemental heat from:

Signs of hedgehogs in danger of being too cold are decreased activity, decreased appetite, sneezing (as opposed to puffling).  So, if she’s not on her wheel and exploring at night, eating her food and turning down mealworms and other treats, check the temperature in her enclosure!  If that seems good, get her in to your local hedgehog vet!  (We see them here at Cimarron Animal Hospital!)

PAWS FOR SENSE… Happy Love Voice Calms the Terrified Beast

posted by Dr. Deb on September 18th, 2016 in Behavior, Other

I’m a vet and I recently learned something about being a Pet Parent from my own terrifying experience with our beloved basset, Josie.  

Josie tangled with a Colorado River Toad a few weeks ago.  Nearly killed her.  She didn’t just lick it… she actually mauled it enough to kill it!  

Luckily, we were home.  It was 10 o’clock at night.  Luckily, she started seizuring, loudly, just outside my bedroom window.  Luckily, I was in there, reading a book.  Like a Mom who knows the difference between a “frustrated” cry and an “I’m hurt” cry from their child, I knew that this wasn’t just an “I’m excited” basset yelp!  I raced out to the back yard to find her on her chest, four legs splayed to the sides most alarmingly.  She was yelping senselessly, unresponsive to my voice and blind.  She was definitely blind– the veterinarian in me knew that.  The vet in my head starting cataloging symptoms (we didn’t know about the toad yet).  The basset mommy in my head went from freaking out to “what the he** do I do?” in a microsecond.  I knew she needed to get to a vet clinic.  This wasn’t something that the vet could take care of at home.  But which vet?!  My regular vet (“she’ll open up for this, at this time of night” right – cuz that’s me…) or the 24 hour emergency vet (“they’ll charge me an arm and a leg…” Yup, I thought that, right then.  “But maybe it’s worth it for a rational mind to be applied to this problem” “What’s wrong with my baby Josie!!!????  <freaking out again>). “Get a grip.  Get a catheter in. The clinic, then!”

All this while shouting for my 15 year old son to open the back door.  I set her on the kitchen floor, in the light, to evaluate. Still yelping mindlessly, still not standing, still blind.  Gums beet red. I remembered that I’m good in a crisis. “Son, put on a shirt and shoes, bring Josie to the car.”  

Now.  Add third factor:  15 year old son.  Who LOVES this dog.  It’s his self-proclaimed “emotional support basset”.  He’s never bonded with anything or anyone (pretty sure not even his parents!) like he has with this dog in the last 4 years.  Not given to emotional drama (thank the heavens), he starts asking the rational questions,

“What’s wrong with Josie?” 

“I don’t know”

“Can you fix it?”

“I don’t know”  (honest, but not very comforting, coming from your veterinarian Or your Mom!)

“Just get her in the car. Now!”  … No more questions.  He manned up, right then and there and picked up his baying, pooping, insensible baby girl and carried her to the car.

I made it to the clinic in 4 minutes ( a trip that usually takes 7– no traffic, didn’t care if police “escorted” me to the clinic– we could discuss it there- after I provided emergency care to my baby!) That was a long 4 minutes.  I had lots of time to try to figure out what was going on with our beloved basset.  Colorado River Toad.  It had to be.  Monsoon Season in Arizona. But this is the wackiest response I’d ever seen– not really seizuring- she’s still sitting up, she’s conscious- sort of– she’s vocal- a lot (basset hound, I guess)….

It happened that my husband had just deplaned after a trip out of town. “Call your Dad. Tell him to come directly to the clinic. Josie’s in trouble,” I told my son, tossing him my cell phone. 

My son has never expressed an interest or apptitude for veterinary medicine.  In fact, he gets a little grossed out when I start doing serious stuff involving blood, and he hates to see the animals scared, having to be restrained to help them…  But, again, he manned up. He restrained his baying, unresponsive puppy’s arm so I could place an IV catheter!  My son Rocked!

BUT THIS IS WHAT I LEARNED (besides how much it sucks to be the Pet Parent of a beloved baby and you have no clue what’s wrong, what you can do/ should do/ where to go– I’ve actually been here before…)

While I was working away at that catheter and taking 17 years to draw up a sedative — I’d figured out that my poor baby was having the worst “trip” ever– probably being chased through The Black Forest by giant Basset-Eating Pink  Food Crumbies– I listened to my son try to soothe his best friend and love-hound.  He did what every worried parent does. In clipped phases with the edge of panic on his voice,  “It’s OK, Josie.  Ssshh.  It’s OK.  It’ll be OK.  Hush Josie (for blessed sake, please hush with the baying….).  It’s OK Girl, It’s OK. Mommy will make it better (Oh, cr**, he had to say that?  No pressure, Dr. Mom…).  


“Talk to her like you guys are at home snuggling on the couch.  Tell her she’s a good girl.  Call her “Balrog Jowl-rog”, like you do at home when you are both happy and having fun together.”

He paused, I think putting himself in the right frame of mind.  His tone of voice instantly changed to (something closer to) his happy, everything in life is wonderful, puppy play voice.  

And she instantly calmed down.  It wasn’t the sedative.  It was his tone of voice, the words he used and his entire manner.  He had to find the happy place in himself to say those words with a happy play voice.  He had to shed (or momentarily box away) his fear, to assume the calm needed to even remember happy play voice.  Whatever it was, Josie felt it.  She quieted.  She rested, just a little.  Her boy was at least with her, keeping her safe from those Pink Crumbies.

When Daddy arrived, Josie was quiet. The drugs had done their job.  But when they wore off, and Dad started with the Pet Parent Panic litany, my son told him, “talk to her like we’re all happy, snuggling on the couch, Dad.”  The two of them baby- love- puppy talked Josie through her next set of hallucinations til the new round of sedatives kicked in….  

After pulmonary edema secondary to the Colorado River Toad poison- induced shock was treated, Josie survived.  She doesn’t seem to have suffered any brain damage….  But, she doesn’t have to play Mozart, I guess….  And, she’s still eating her crumbies (you bet your sweet bippies!), so that must not have been what was chasing her through the Black Forest… 

LESSON:  When your pet is panicked, pretend your not.  Put your panic away and talk to them like you would if you were enjoying (whatever the two of you enjoy most together).  Say the goofy things to your pet in the face of panic that you do at home.  It is worth at least half a dose of injectable sedative.

I’ve used this calming technique twice with clients in the my exam room since Josie’s incident and it has worked beautifully.  It calmed both owner and pet….

Dr Deb Bohnke

Stopping Heartworm BEFORE it gets into your pet!

posted by Dr. Deb on September 13th, 2016 in Cats, Dogs, New Technology

Let’s talk Heartworms. Not a common problem in Arizona, but it is here. I’ve treated cases! Dogs most likely to be infected: Shelter adoptions/ Strays. Recommendation: every shelter adoption/ stray should be tested for Heartworm, Tick fever and Intestinal parasites upon adoption; investment of $ 87.00. (Most shelter don’t do these tests). Cool new drugs make the fight against these deadly parasites even easier/ better!

 You are invited to  Cimarron Animal Hospital’s ”Check your Chip and Dip Party” Saturday August 13th  1 – 4 pm.

posted by Dr. Deb on July 31st, 2016 in Other



Microchips greatly increase the chance of getting your pet back if he/she is lost or stolen, … but a microchip only works if its registration information is accurate.  

Is your pet’s microchip up-to-date?

If you’ve ever moved, or changed phone numbers or other contact information, it’s more than worth the effort to make sure you’ve submitted updated information to your pet’s microchip registry. Even if your contact information hasn’t changed, it’s a good idea to double-check that your correct information is included in the microchip registry.

Checking a chip’s registration information is easy, and can mean the difference between heartbreak and a happy family reunion if you ever get separated from your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association maintains a website with easy-to-follow instructions at

To check and update a registration, you’ll need your pet’s microchip number. If you don’t have that easily accessible at home, we’ll be happy to scan your pet’s chip for you!  Not even sure if your pet is chipped?

Come to our ”Check your Chip and Dip Party” Saturday August 13th

between 1 and 4 pm.

  •  Chip Check, Chip Database checks, Update your contact info
  • Microchipping for pets who aren’t already chipped.
    • The Home Again lifetime database registration costs $19.99
    • Microchips are only $15.00!
  • Pokemon themed Costume Contest for Pets (There happens to be a Gym right next door to us for those who are interested…)
  • Chips and Dips for Pet Parents
  • Treats for Pets
  • Special Appearance by FrankieZ, our family Hedgehog, between 2pm and 3pm

Microchips help reunite families. We hope to see you on the 13th!


Summer Fleas and Ticks are Here Early: Tips for Riddance and Why

posted by Dr. Deb on June 12th, 2016 in Cats, Dogs

itchy dogSummer Flea and Tick Season Hits Tucson, Arizona Early this year,   thanks to unseasonably warmer temperatures and early rains.  Don’t let Arizona’s hot, dry environment lull you into a false sense of comfort.  

Our outdoor pets really are at risk for flea and ticks in Tucson, as well as other parts of the country.  Sure, we aren’t innundated with the repulsive little buggers like the deep Southeastern United States, but we do have our own species of desert adapted fleas and ticks!  Our outdoor pets are likely to pick up one of these annoying, disease-carrying parasites!  Pets living in wild desert environments are especially at risk of picking up the fleas from our desert rodents and pets in cultivated yards can pick up both fleas and ticks!sticktight lfea on ear

“I was “SURE” for years that we “don’t have fleas in Arizona”– til my dog got them from our desert yard!  Thank goodness I had a teenager who could see the little boogers!  I sure couldn’t without my glasses!   THEN my cat, who got out for ONE night came home with stick tight fleas on his ears!  You can bet I was grossed out/appalled/ freaking out and put all my pets on Flea prevention!”-Dr Bohnke 

Not only are fleas and ticks gross and itchy, they can cause severe allergic reactions in our pets.  A single flea bite can make the whole pet itchy!  If your pet is itchy and spends time outside in an environment where he could be exposed to areas that desert animals live in, just get him an effective flea preventive!

Fleas and Ticks also carry a variety of diseases that can be transferred to both our pets and us!

  • Plaque, carried by rodent fleas (Arizona is one of the three leading states in the Western US to have plaque outbreaks).

Click here for 2016 outbreak 

Click here for 2015 outbreak   

  • Tick Fever is a common disease caused by the blood parasite (Ehrlichia spp.) transferred by the bite of ticks.  There are several other disease-causing parasites transferred to both humans and dogs by tick bites.  See

Click Here for diseases in dogs

Click Here for diseases in humans (Tick Borne Relapsing Fever, especially)

Dealing with these pests is no fun! Here’s what you need to know to get your life back to normal: 



  • If you suspect fleas are present, check ears, face, or your pet’s underside to confirm. (Our desert rodent fleas can be very hard to see. Cat and dog fleas are usually 1.5-3.3 mm in length. Rodent fleas are usually 1.5- 2.5 mm in length. “Specks of dirt” are suspect, especially if they move!)
  • At the first sign of fleas, wash bedding and furniture and vacuum carpets. 
  • Put a flea collar into your vacuum bag or canister to kill the fleas and eggs you vacuum up. Change or Empty the vacuum weekly.
  • Use a fogger or a powder to cover larger areas. 
  • Ask your vet for a safe and effective Flea Protection Recommendation.

frontline cat image

Once a month SpotOn for cats and dogs

revolution puppies kits

Once a month spot on for cats and dogs

Program lufenuron image

Once a month Oral for control of fleas In The Environment (!)


15% Off at Cimarron Animal Hospital  

                                       in June






  • To remove ticks, dab the area with rubbing alcohol, then extract the ticks slowly with tweezers. Take care not to squeeze too hard or pull too fast.
  • Drop removed ticks in rubbing alcohol before disposing.
  • Treat the spot on your pet with alcohol or antibacterial ointment after removal.
  • Spray your house and yard every 2 weeks for 2 months, then monthly to kill the ticks in your environment.
  • Remove any decorative or scrap wood from your yard (ticks love to hide there)
  • Ask your vet about a safe, effective Tick Protection.


Once a month SpotOn


Once every 3 month! Oral


15% Off at Cimarron Animal Hospital  

                                                 in June

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