“She’s slowing down” is the biggest problem we hear about senior pets.  Most owners aren’t concerned about it. They expect it. But it’s a Big Red Flag to veterinarians.  Sure, it could mean “just arthritis”, as most people assume.  But, it could also mean a lot of other things!  Things that can be treated!

WHAT ELSE CAN MAKE AN OLDER DOG SLOW DOWN?

  • Arthritis
  • Internal diseases like kidney disease, liver disease
  • HEART DISEASE
  • Infections such as Valley Fever, Lyme’s disease, Heartworm disease

All of these conditions can and should be treated to give your older pup happy, comfortable Golden Years.

Arthritis?

X-rays will help determine whether a senior pet has arthritis.  The joints most commonly affected are the hips and knees, but the spine is also often involved.  Small breeds with short, “twisty” front legs and  other dogs with limbs deformities will often have arthritis in those abnormal joints.

Heart Disease?

If radiographs aren’t revealing, ask your vet to check your dog’s heart– especially if your pup is a large or giant breed!  Heart disease in large breed dogs causes rear end weakness that can look just like arthritis! (When the heart can’t pump enough blood to the back of the body, muscles get weak and waste away, just like in arthritis!)

Heartworm Disease?

If Heartworm disease is common in your area, this can cause weakness due to the heart disease the worms cause.

Infectious Disease?

Any form of general illness can cause weakness.  For instance, Valley Fever is common in the desert southwest and can be a slowly progressive, insidious disease that causes a dog to just feel weak and sick. Ask you vet if your pet might have any diseases common to your part of the country.

Metabolic Disease?

Metabolic diseases common in the senior years like Kidney disease and Liver disease also make a dog just feel lousy and lazy, just as they do in humans.

Help Your Pet Live Life to its Fullest!

Don’t let your older dog slow down without knowing why! There is so much that can be done for all of these conditions to help dogs feel better, be more active, and be a part of the family again!  Insist that your vet explore the possibilities and don’t settle for “it’s just arthritis”!

high blood pressure in catsHigh Blood pressure, or “hypertension”, is a common condition in cats over the age of about 7 years. It is often associated with other disease conditions common in aging cats such as Hyperthyroidism, Kidney disease and Heart disease. Approximately 13-20% of cats that develop hypertension have no underlying disease. They have “primary hypertension”.

Complications of Hypertension

Sudden blindness is a common complication of high blood pressure in cats.  This blindness is caused by detachment of the retina in the back of the eye.  This retinal detachment can be reversed if the high blood pressure if resolved quickly.

High blood pressure can also cause kidney disease and complicate heart disease.

Signs of Hypertension:blindness, retinal detachment in catsblood in cat eye due to hypertension
  • Depression
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Inactivity
  • Head pressing (headache?)
  • Increase drinking and urination
  • Seizures
  • Sudden onset of paralysis (due to a blood clot to rear limbs)
  • No signs in the early stages– this is the best time to start treatment!
Diagnosis

All cats over the age of 7 years should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year

All cats with diseases that can cause high blood pressure, or be worsened by high blood pressure, should be checked every time they have a checkup– at least twice yearly!

FDA approved drug for feline hypertension availabeTreatment

Medication is available to treat hypertension. It is usually easily given and well accepted by cats.  The FDA has recently approved, Semintra, in a convenient liquid form, to treat feline hypertension!  It’s important to also treat any underlying conditions (thyroid disease, kidney disease, heart disease).  Your cat may even be able to come off the blood pressure meds with treatment of the underlying condition!

Management

After your cat starts medication, your  veterinarian should monitor your cat’s blood pressure  every 3-7 days until normal and stable, then every 3-6 months, depending on the underlying cause. Your vet will let you know your cat’s ideal monitoring schedule.

Prognosis

The prognosis for high blood pressure in cats is good to excellent! Your cat can live a normal life with medication and proper monitoring. You can learn to watch for subtle signs of recurrence of high blood pressure so you can help right away! Your kitty’s happiness can be restored with prompt blood pressure rechecks medication adjustments!

Testimonial

“We had a kitty patient with “end stage” kidney failure and high blood pressure that we were able to keep happy, active and eating for over 2 years! ‘Tuxedo’s’ owners were so in-tune with his behaviors that they could tell when his blood pressure was elevated. They would bring him in right away for a BP check any time he was acting unusual- not following his regular routine.  Every time, we were able to adjust his medications and make him feel like his “old self” again within hours!  It was so rewarding!”…  Dr Deb Bohnke

Omega-3 fatty acids have a number of potential benefits in dogs and cats with allergic skin, such as reducing inflammation and improving the skin’s general condition. When the skin is healthy, its natural barrier function against allergens (pollens, dust mites, molds) improves, minimizing the allergic reaction.

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

The two health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are long chain omega-3 fatty acids and are found abundantly in fish.  Flax seed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, a shorter chain omega-3 fatty acid that requires the enzyme delta-6 desaturase to convert it into EPA and DHA in the body. Humans and dogs have
limited ability to convert ALA to EPA and DHA. Cats have even less ability to convert ALA to EPA and DHA.
Therefore, supplementation with a high quality omega-3 fish oil is recommended for humans, dogs, and cats.

What are the important health benefits of fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, in dogs and cats?
  • Decreasing Inflammation: One of the key functions of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA is supporting the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response. Dogs and cats can suffer from numerous inflammatory conditions that can affect their health and well-being. Studies have shown supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids from fish supports dogs and cats with inflammatory conditions associated with the skin, joints, kidneys, and heart.
  • EPA promotes healthy triglyceride (fat) levels within the blood of dogs
  • Shiny Coat and better skin condition. Essential fatty acid supplementation is known to maintain general skin and coat quality in dogs and cats. Human studies have also shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation supports weight loss.

 

What results should I expect to see in my dog or cat after omega-3 fatty acid supplementation?

Improved coat condition is common when pets start taking omega-3 fatty acids. This may take a month or two to manifest as old fur falls out and new, healthier fur fills in. The anti-inflammatory effect of a therapeutic dose of omega-3s will also help to reduce your pet’s skin inflammation and decrease the numbers of infections secondary to allergen exposure and self-trauma (chewing, licking and scratching).
Research shows that fatty acid levels reach a steady state within about one month of starting supplementation. Results vary for every pet. Consistency in giving your pet omega-3s is key to seeing results.

Are there any safety issues if my pet receives an over-supplementation of Omega-3 fatty acids?

Platelets are a type of blood cell important for formation of a blood clot to stop bleeding if the body is cut or injured. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the ability of platelets to stick together and form a blood clot quickly if taken in excess.

Do omega-3 fatty acids affect behavior and mood in dogs and cats?

The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on behavior in dogs and cats have not been well researched. However, one recent study did show that dogs with aggression problems had lower blood levels of DHA and higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratios than dogs without aggression. Although this study does not prove cause and effect, it does suggest that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be beneficial for pets with aggressive conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has also been researched in humans with cognitive dysfunction. Results of these studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in maintaining cognitive function. Therefore, improved behavior may be appreciated in older pets, especially those suffering from cognitive dysfunction.

Selecting a Quality Fish Oil Supplement

PURITY  Your pet’s omega 3 fish oil should be microdistilled for purity, without the use of chemicals or excessive heat, in order to effectively remove heavy metals, such as mercury and lead.

PICK THE RIGHT CONCENTRATION
The therapeutic dose of omega-3 fatty acids we currently recommend for dogs and cats :

20 mg/ pound Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) per day.

Make sure to read the supplement facts on the label to know how much EPA and DHA is in each capsule. A “1000 mg” soft gel refers only to the size of the soft gel, not the levels of EPA and DHA.

We recommend avoiding cod liver oil as it is too high in vitamins A and D when administered at a therapeutic EPA+DHA dose and can cause toxicity of these vitamins.

The total daily dose can be administered at a single time daily or can be divided over the course of the day.

Image result for Cat Friendly logo image

What does it mean to be Cat Friendly?  Cats are unique among pets: how they think, how they feel, how they react to the environment around them.  We understand how to comfort them and how to heal them with both medicine and compassion. We take their special needs into consideration.

We are certified by the American Association of Feline Practitioners as Cat-Friendly!

  • Special waiting area, just for cats!
  • Happy kitty pheromones in the air to relax the jitters
  • Towels to cover them so they can hide if they want
  • Special exam room, with soothing music, treats, just for cats
  • Free run of the exam room, to explore as they want
  • Examinations performed where they feel most comfortable, whenever possible
  • Gentle restraint (sedation available if needed for “must do “ procedures or just to help the visit be bearable—with your agreement, of course!)
  • Special room for housing, away from dogs and scary sounds of the hospital.
  • Hideaways in the kennels for security whenever medically possible

Being Cat Friendly also means that ALL of our staff is required to attend a certain number of Continuing Education courses to stay abreast of current topics in all veterinary medicine, particularly Feline medicine/ psychology:

One Veterinarian

  • Total of 30 hours of RACE approved veterinary CE every 3 years
  • 15 of the 30 veterinary CE hours must be in feline medicine and surgery

Other Veterinarians and Veterinary Team Members

  • Total of 15 veterinary CE every 3 years
  • 7 of the 15 hours must be in the feline medicine and surgery

Considering that a veterinarian only needs 20 hours of CE every 2 years to maintain a license, Licensed Veterinary Techs only need 10 hours every 2 years, and Veterinary Assistants don’t need any to handle animals, to work, that’s a LOT of CE that we are devoting just to cats!  ‘Cause we LOVE ‘em!

Don’t you want to bring your cats to a vet clinic that Cares about cats for who they are, not just as another animal to deal with?

For more information about the Cat Friendly Initiative, see https://catfriendly.com/keep-your-cat-healthy/cat-friendly-practice/

 

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!  

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.

 

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!

 

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!

 

 

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!

 

Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)

Valley Fever (VF) is caused by a fungus found in the soil in the United States desert southwest region. Pets (even indoor pets) acquire VF by inhaling the spores (digging, dust storms, nearby construction, or just snuffling the ground). The early, Pulmonary, stage of VF causes a cough, intermittent fever, and poor appetite. In the later, Disseminated, stage, the infection spreads to other areas of the body such as the bones, joints, skin, brain, liver and kidneys. There may be lameness or swelling of the joints, weight loss, skin nodules, pain, chronic cough or seizures, blood tests, x-rays or other lab tests are used to diagnose VF. Treatment should begin immediately to give your pet the best chance of recovery. As yet, there is no prevention for VF other than limiting your pet’s exposure to dust and keeping him as healthy as possible so he has the best chance of fighting the disease.

Rattlesnake Bite

Each year, hundreds of dogs and cats living in the Tucson area are bitten by rattlesnakes. Most victims that are treated at a veterinary hospital survive the bite, but some suffer permanent tissue damage and even die.

Protect Your Pet

  • Keep your pet on a leash and stay on the paths when walking in the desert
  • Keep your yard clean of debris under which snakes can hide
  • Slowly walk away from any snake you see or hear
  • Rattlesnake vaccine for dogs, available here at Cimarron, can reduce the severity of damage done by the rattlesnake venom while you get your dog to the veterinarian. Your dog’s first rattlesnake vaccine needs to be boosted 4 weeks later, then should be given every 6 months (due to our nearly all-year-long snake “season” ) . We recommend vaccinating around March,  before rattlesnakes become active after their long winter slumber—when venom sacs are fullest, making bites even more serious!

Contact us to get your dog Rattlesnake vaccinated!

Treatment:

There are no First Aid treatments for Rattlesnake Bite. Call us or your nearest veterinary hospital to be sure there is a Doctor and antivenin available. Keep your pet quiet. Go to the vet immediately. Every hour you delay puts your pet’s life in jeopardy and increases the damage being done!

Other Poisonous Animals of the Desert

Gila Monsters will bite pets in self defense. They have a tenacious bite, grinding their jaws together while secreting venom into the wound. The venom, crushing action, and infection cause significant tissue damage at the site of the wound.

Centipedes and Scorpions will sting when disturbed, but usual cause only variably painful swelling, redness and perhaps minor tissue damage at the site.

Bees, Wasps and Ants can deliver not only a painful sting, but can cause allergic reactions such as swelling of muzzle/ face/ ears or welts over the whole body. If your pet develops  allergic signs, he should be seen by a veterinarian right away.

Heat/Dehydration

Our dry desert heat can cause heat exhaustion and dehydration in our pets. Be sure to take water for your pet when you travel and hike. Outside pets must have shade throughout the day—remember, what was shady in the morning may not be in the afternoon! Ensure that outdoor pets have cool, clean water, in a stable container that can’t be tipped over. Consider installing a misting system for outdoor pets. Brachycephalic, or short-nosed, breeds are especially prone to heat exhaustion. Don’t leave these dogs outside for more than a few minutes during the hottest part of the year!

And, Never, Ever, leave a pet in the car, during any part of the year! It’s dangerous to the pet and against the law!

Colorado River Toads

These toads come out of their deep underground burrows during the summer rains and monsoon season. You can hear their characteristic barking croaks at night. They have easy to see uniformly arranged small red bumps on their backs. These are the poison glands. If your pet licks or “mouths” a toad, the toxin from the skin glands will cause heavy, slimy salivation. Most pets will paw at their faces. If not treated immediately, the toxin can cause seizures, hyperthermia and death. Call us right away for immediate first aid advice!