Animal Hospital News

Kitty and Canine Calming Kits: Pre-Visit Sedation for less Stressful Vet Visit

posted by Dr. Deb on May 5th, 2018 in Behavior, Cats, Dogs, Hospital Announcements

Kitty and Canine Calming Kits have arrived!

I hate bringing my cats into the clinic!  One is “fine” in the carrier in the car, except for the plaintive wailing and the bug eyes staring at me as if to say, “You Traitor!  Why are you taking me to my death?!”  The other has barrier anxiety, so just getting him IN the carrier is a matter of stuffing the pillow with claws, splayed in 17 directions, into the upturned box and somehow getting my hands out and the door closed before he can burst his way out again. And, I’m an expert cat-wrangler!  My poor baby who (once) trusted me then screams bloody murder for the mere 6 minute drive to the clinic!  So… they don’t come in more than they have to. Fortunately, I have the luxury of an in-home veterinarian ( me!) to examine them periodically.  (Thanks goodness for the clinic reminder system that reminds me when to do that or years would go by before I looked in their mouths!).  So, I can really understand cat owners’ trepidation at the concept of bringing their kitties in for their checkups!  (And we all know that, since cats are masters at hiding their illnesses until they are on death’s doorstep, that once or twice a year (“Oh God!”) vet visits are super important!)

You know what I do as soon as I get into the clinic? Sedate the barrier- issue cat so he can tolerate being confined to a kennel for the day! ( Bug-eyed “Spot” is usually content once he gets out of the moving car.)  I sedate my dog, too!  She loves the car ride, loves to greet all the people, but HATES to have her nails trimmed and her anal sacs cleaned!  She is so stressed that she whines incessantly if I leave her in a room by herself- let alone a kennel!  Her life is so much nicer ( mine, too) if she is sedated! 

So, I started thinking… I’d like to start sedating MY animals before they even get in the car. ( Hey, wouldn’t my clients, too?)   Then they don’t have all that extra anxiety!  As my teen-aged son would say, “He**,  yeah!”  So….

Kitty and Canine Calming Kits Save the Day!

  A couple days of natural calming medication and a stronger sedative– depending on your pet’s level of anxiety and what we need to get done– to take home BEFORE the Visit!  Bring in a calmer pet, have a calmer car ride, less anxiety, less guilt, and your are getting them in to the vet for the check ups/ procedures they need to stay healthier longer!

Bring your anxious pets to us!  We’re ready!  Every pet responds differently to sedatives, depending on the medication, their metabolism and their level of arousal before the meds kick in.  If the at-home sedation isn’t quite enough, we can give more while they are here!  They may go home and “sleep it off” all the rest of the day, but that has been determined to be beneficial for creating an amnesia response to the stressful stimulus, too!  This makes the next visit less arousing ( probably still need meds, but they’ll work even better)– that’s the theory, anyway!

Calming Kits contain

  • Natural meds for 3 days
  • Sedative medication
  • Instructions and tricks for training your pet to tolerate the experience more
  • Feliway (calming pheromone) for cats.

It’s helped dozens of pets already!  Pet parents are loving it too!  

Ear Infections in Dogs

posted by Dr. Deb on March 7th, 2018 in Cats, Dogs

Ooohh Nooo, it’s Otitis Externa! again…

Nearly every dog gets at least one in their lifetime!  Ear infections are one of the top 3 most common pet health insurance claim reasons! They’re crazy! They’re everywhere!  

Sometimes they are frustrating!  They can be hard to beat! They often recur. They are PAINFUL!

Causes

Outer ear infections in dogs are most often caused by :

  • Bacteria (various kinds, many of which are antibiotic resistant)
  • Yeast.
  • Both

There is almost ALWAYS an Underlying Cause that needs to be treated in order to cure the infection and prevernt recurrence.

ALLERGIES to food products–  Be on the alert for:

    • no other symptoms of allergy such as itchy skin/ persistent licking
    • Maybe Bottom scooting
    • Maybe Periodic loose stools, diarrhea or vomiting

ALLERGIES  to environmental factors ( pollens, dust mites, molds, etc), especially if:

    • Licking, scratching other parts of the body, too

Anything that plugs the ear canal such as

    • Wax accumulations
    • Thick or matted hair in the ear canal
    • Foreign bodies such as a grass awns or insects (ticks love ear canals!)
    • Tumor or polyps

Water in the ear– from swimming or bathing

Hormone problems suppressing the natural immune system

Symptoms

  • Shaking of the head
  • Ear scratching
  • Red and inflamed ears
  • Offensive ear odor
  • Black, Brown, reddish or yellowish discharge (fi you think it’s “dirt”, it’s probably not– see a vet!)
  • Constant tilting head may signal middle ear infection

Diagnosis

Because a number of problems can cause an ear infection, it is important that your dog or cat see the veterinarian at the first sign of symptoms. The veterinarian will also make sure the eardrum is intact before prescribing medication because some medications have been known to result in hearing loss if administered to a pet with a ruptured eardrum.  Your veterinarian will prescribe proper medication and treatment.

Examining the ear–Your veterinarian will use an otoscope to look inside your pet’s ear for debris and to check on the condition of the eardrum. If this is painful, your pet may need to be sedated or anesthetized for the exam. If the ear examination reveals a foreign body, tick or heavy debris buildup, sedation may also be required in order for the veterinarian to remove the irritant.

CytologyYour veterinarian will take a sample of the material in the ear canal and examine it under a microscope (cytology) to determine if an organism caused the infection, and which organisms are involved. This is a critical step of diagnosis and follow up!   Different organisms require different medications and the type of organism involved can change over time, even during treatment!

Treatment

Cleaning-  Your veterinarian may need to clean your pet’s ear of debris prior to treatment in order for treatment to be most effective.  Some medications are inactivated in the presence of pus. Medication can not treat an infection if there is so much debris in the canal that the medication cannot reach the skin. Cleaning can sometimes be done in the exam room.   But anesthesia is often needed if your pet’s ear is too painful or there is an excessive amount of debris. Ears are suuuper sensitive– there is only 1 nerve between the ear and the brain! Making the investment in cleaning, even if it means anesthesia, early in the treatment process will help cure the infection faster and reduce the number of rechecks needed.

Medication treatment–Medication treatment is typically prescribed for one to two weeks. This can be painful for your pet, so be gentle.  Your veterianrian may be able to instill long-acting medication in your pet’s ears initially to minimize uncomfortable treatments at home. Depending on your pet’s condition, you may have to do daily cleaning at home.  Your veterinary team will show you how.

Recovery

Prompt diagnosis and proper treatment will speed your pet’s recovery. .Be prepared for recheck examinations with your veterinarian.  Only your vet, using an otoscope, can  ensure that the infection is cleared up all the way to the ear drum.  Ear infections can be frustrating and take some time to treat due to the number of factors that complicate recovery:

  •   The cause of infection can change during the course of treatment-–  from a bacterial to a yeast infection, for instance
  • Resistance to typically used medications.
  • Not cleaning the ear enough so that medication can reach the infection
  • Not treating the ears deeply enough
  • Not treating long enough to clear the whole infection
  • Underlying problems such as allergies or thyroid disease.

 

 

Important warning–The longer an ear infection goes untreated, the harder it is to get rid of. Your pet will be in pain until you start treatment. Heavy head shaking, a sign of infection, can result in broken blood vessels in the ear flap  (this is commonly called an aural hematoma) that requires surgery. Frequent ear infections can damage the eardrum and close the ear canal, in which case surgical reconstruction may be necessary.

Recurrence

Recurrence of infection may happen for a number of reasons.  Sometimes the infection is persisting rather than recurring because it was not cured the first time.  This happens most often when patients are not rechecked with the veterinarian. An infection may look cleared at the ear opening, but still be brewing deep in the canal, near the ear drum.

Recurrences should always be treated and the underlying cause treated.  Dogs should not “always” have ear problems. They are painful and often a sign of a bigger problem!

Prevention

  • Prevent water from getting in your dog’s ear during baths– put a cotton ball in ear opening to catch any accidental water that may get in. 
  • If your dog is a frequent swimmer, ask your veterinarian for a drying ear wash to use nightly during swimming season.
  • Use any ear flush prescribed for your veterinarian on a regular schedule. 
  • Treat the underlying causes!

FAQ

Q. What is the best way to keep my dog’s ears dry?
A. Cotton balls are an excellent way to dry your dog’s ears if he is regularly exposed to water. Always be gentle and careful not to force build-up down into the ear, which can contribute to an ear infection.
Q. How soon should I take my pet to the veterinarian’s office if I think it has an ear infection?
A. Call and make an appointment immediately. Your pet is in pain. Your vet needs to determine the source of the problem and prescribe a course of treatment as soon as possible.

 

It’s Cold! Help for Pets with Arthritis

posted by Dr. Deb on December 30th, 2017 in Cats, Dogs

Keeping warm in the winter!

“Baby, it’s cold out there!”  Well, if you live in Southern Arizona, like we do, it’s relatively cold-er…  Either way, arthritic joints can tell!  We routinely get more complaints about pets having a harder time getting up and lying down, getting moving in the morning, getting comfortable to go to sleep this time of year.  All because it’s colder!  But there are things that we recommend for pets with arthritis.  (I’m talking about cats, too. Did you know that 80% of cats who “slow down”, “sleep more”, “have trouble jumping up”, “are getting crankier in their old age” actually have arthritis?!)

Recommedations for pets suspected of having Osteoarthritis:

  • #1: Make sure it is arthritis!  A lot of diseases mimic achy joints!  Have your vet rule out and treat the following, if present, before assuming it’s “just arthritis” and just putting your pet on pain meds.  (Sure, this will require an office visit, and probably some x-rays, but that’s a better investment than years worth of pain medication that isn’t going to help)
    • Heart disease – especially large dogs
    • Valley Fever (if you live here, in Southern Arizona)
    • Intervertebral disc disease (“slipped/ ruptured discs)
    • Lumbosacral stenosis- also large dogs
    • Other Joint conditions such as Patellar Luxation (dislocating kneecaps) or Cruciate Ligament injury
  •  Soft bedding– like “egg crate” foam covered with a sheet or blanket for easy cleaning
  •  Warmth– keep pets inside at night or provide a heated dog house or cat house (cats love those indoors, too!)
    • Bend and stretch their legs while they are restingPhysical Therapy- Go on a 10 -15 minute walk twice daily. Walk over obstacles like rocks and branches, up and down curbs, and up and down hills or stairs
    • massage legs that have arthritis– from the toes up!
    • Ask your vet for any other exercises that might be appropriate for your pets particular condition
  • Weight Loss!  The extra weight is hard on inflamed joints. But more importantly, the excess fat
     cells are secreting inflammatory factors that make ALL the joints (and everything else in a body– people too btw!) more inflamed!  Just get rid of it!  Ask your vet for guidance regarding portion control, low cal snacks and treats.  Consider a portion control feeder like PortionProRx  for multiple pet households where individual feeding is tricky.
  • Medical Therapy is very helpful, but don’t forget about all the at-home remedies.  When those aren’t enough ask your vet about
    • Nutrition Supplements (we recommend spending your money on anti-inflammatory doses of Omega 3 fatty acids before spending on glucosamine/ chondroitin)
    • Adequan(r) – an injectable form of glucosamine that gets to inflamed joints much better
    • Cold Laser therapy
    • Anti-inflamatories (there are some newer products that are even safer for dogs with liver and kidney problems!)
    • Adjunctive Pain medication

Arthritis doesn’t have to be debilitating for your pets!  As you embark on your own journey of getting healthier or staying healthy for the rest of your life, being your pets along.  They will live happier and healthier, too!

 

Board Certified Surgeon at Cimarron Animal Hospital

posted by Dr. Deb on December 5th, 2017 in Hospital Announcements

Dr. Michael SingerDr Michael Singer, a board certified veterinary surgeon brings orthopedic and advanced surgical techniques to Cimarron Animal Hospital!  We are so excited to have such a gifted surgeon working with us!  Not only is he gifted, but he’s GOOD! He has all the best surgical equipment to get the most complicated surgeries done right, efficiently! But what really counts most is concern and TLC for the patients!  He and his technician, Valerie, start caring for their  patients before surgery, walking them to empty their bladders (have you ever woken up from surgery with a full bladder?  It’s terrible!). Throughout surgery, Valerie is checking on patient temperature and comfortable positioning, in addition to running excellent anesthesia, monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, oxygenation and fluids, just like we at Cimarron do!  After surgery, patients that have had particularly painful procedures get an IV drip of pain meds until they go home with their oral pain medication.  Their routine is top-notch!  Having watched them in action, I would choose them over a specialty center for my own pet !  

We are also excited that we are able to give owners a chance to have surgeries done that they might not be able to, otherwise.  Since our overhead is less than the 24 hour Specialty facilities, we can offer the same superior quality, care and skill at a lower price.  Our Cimarron family of pets can live better, happier lives thanks to Dr. Singer!

Dr Singer is available to do surgery at Cimarron Animal Hospital for pets that are not established as patients at Cimarron as well!  Anyone can call and set up a consultation with Dr Singer and his brilliantly capable technician, Valerie!  Helping pets all around Tucson!  Our Cimarron Team is REALLY excited about that aspect of our opportunity to offer this new service!

Learn more about Dr. Singer by clicking his name or pic!

 

Keep You Pet Safe from Holiday Dangers

posted by Dr. Deb on November 21st, 2017 in Cats, Dogs, Exotics, Hospital Announcements, Other

 

Holidays offer all sorts of opportunities for inquisitive pets to get into trouble:Rich food, exciting garbage, holiday decorations, gift wrapping, etc.  Here are some tips on keeping your Curious George safe!

 

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