We are so excited to have our new Digital Dental X-ray machine up and running!  It’s been a long-time dream of  Dr. Bohnke’s to be able to provide the level of dental care that dental x-rays allow!  Most dental disease occurs below the gum line.  A lot of that is completely invisible to the naked eye.  (Ever had (or had a friend who had) a toothache but the dentist couldn’t tell what tooth was involved just by looking?)

Dental readiographs show us  root infections, bone loss and tumors that we might not be able to determine just by looking at and probing the teeth. Without dental x-rays, infected teeth may be left in the mouth, even after a thorough dental treatment!  Cats develop painful resorptive dental lesions, similar to cavities, below the gumline.  The only treatment for this condition is extraction of the painful tooth.  If we can’t see the lesion, don’t know it’s there, because we haven’t taken radiographs, we could leave our patients in pain!

Dental Rads also tell us when we DON’T have to pull a tooth.  Tooth tip fractures are common.  If the pulp cavity of the tooth is exposed, the tooth should be either capped or extracted.  If the pulp cavity is not affected, the tooth can stay in place and just be “watched”.

The widened pulp cavity and dark area under the root of the fractured upper canine tooth told us this tooth was infected and needed to be extracted. The gums around this tooth looked normal.Being able to take radiographs of the inside of the mouth let’s us know whether oral masses are affecting the dental or boney structures of the jaw.  And, they are a lot more easiy interpreted than whole skull rads– with far greater detail.

We have also used our dental x-ray machine to radiograph pocket pet parts!  It’s a quick way to get a detail x-ray– as many as we need, given rats’ and guinea pigs’ tendency to wiggle– without anesthetizing the patient or having to do a whole body x-ray!   This image shows a guinea pig’s fractured elbow!


Our pets don’t always tell us that their teeth hurt, or which teeth hurt, but radiographs can!

For the best dental care, the most complete treatment, insist on dental radiographs every time your pet is anesthetized for dental work.

We’ve rolled out our Discount Spay and Neuter options to allow pet owners with financial constraints a better choice than the local Discount Spay-neuter clinics for their pet’s surgery.

Our BASIC CARE PACKAGE provides services comparable to Discount Clinics, but with SOME EXTRA BENEFITS:

  • Your pet is at a full service hospital.  In case anything goes wrong during surgery, we can deal with it!
  • You will have full support of our staff, available by phone day or night, should you have questions or concerns after surgery!  Even our after hours calls are taken by veteirnary emergency trained staff! (Not just an answering machine– or go to the emergency room as at discount clinics)
  • Pets will receive 3-4 Pain injections (not just one)  during their stay and have the option to take home pain medications after surgery.  (Would you want an ovariohysterectomy

    Local Discount clinic surgery

    or castration without pain control at home?!?) 
  •  Surgeries are performed in a sterile surgical suite– our Doctor is fully dressed in sterile surgical attire- discount or not! 
  • Patients will be attended by a dedicated Certified Veterinary Technician from anesthetic induction to recovery.

For Pet Parents wanting optimal anesthetic safety for their pets, we still  offer the ULTIMATE PATIENT CARE PACKAGE which includes all of the above PLUS:

  • Pre-Anesthetic Bloodworkensures there is no hidden infection or organ compromise that will affect anesthetic/ surgical safety, and allows the

    Surgery at Cimarron

    Doctor to make individual adjustments in your pet’s drug plan.
  • Intravenous catheter and fluids- provide immediate venous access for emergency in case they are needed. The fluids help to maintain healthy organ function throughout and after surgery. They also help organs metabolize sedatives and anesthetic medications faster, returning your pet to “normal” behaviors sooner.
  • Advanced Electronic Anesthetic Monitoring- Using EKG, Pulse oximeter, Blood pressure monitor, Respiratory monitor and Core Termperature we can customize a patient’s anesthesic level based on subtle
    changes, minimizing the amount of anesthetic needed. These monitors also allow us to detect problems before they become anesthetic crises.
  •  Proactive Pain Medication- Pets receive both a pain/ sedative injection and an anti-inflammatory injection before surgery, a pain injection during surgery, and another if they need it after surgery. They also receive pain medication to go home. We also offer a post op Cold Laser therapy treatment to minimize swelling and desensitize nerves in the area of surgery. 
  •  We believe that pets deserve the safest surgical options.  They should not just survive surgery, but survive it Well– with a minimum of physiologic stress and pain. 

    But, we also understand that many of our clients have financial constraints. 

    ** We would rather pets were neutered and spayed, rather than not, just because of monetary issues.  Also, we would rather have our patients’ surgeries done in a sterile surgical suite, with skilled anesthesia nurses in constant attendance, proactive pain management, and after care support should they need it! 

    Contact Us today for an $Estimate!

More cats are owned than dogs, yet there are 60% fewer cat visits to the vet every year.  But, they need the highly tunes sleuthing and observation skills of a veterinarian at least as much as dogs do.  Cats are both predator and prey animals in the wild.  This makes them unique masters of hiding signs of illness and weakness.  Vet check ups every 6 months to a year help identify health problems sooner, keeping your kitty active and happy longer!


Studies say #1 reason cats don’t come to the vet:   it’s stressful to them and their people!  Boy Howdy!  Ever noticed how fast a cat can run under a bed when you get the carrier out of the garage?  Then, if you can reach them, they have to be dragged out and stuffed into the carrier.  Straight out of the cartoon when the cat spreads his legs across the doorway…  Then, if you’ve been able to successfully stuff scratching, hissing kitty into the carrier, you have to endure the excruciating, guilt building yowling all the way to the vet.  Then, there are the dogs and other cats in the waiting room– not friends!  Then the veterinary nurse drags you out of the only safe haven you have (hey!  how’d this dread carrier suddenly become the best thing around?) to stuff a thermometer up your tookus (that’s cat French).  The room smells like all the other scared animals. The steel table, no place to hide cuz they keep dragging you around.  Poking , prodding, stabbing.  Thank goodness, the carrier door is open! Kitty can slither into it faster at the vet’s office than anywhere! The hideous yowling all the way back home.  Once kitty is home, his cat-mates hate him all over again because he smells funny, so he hides under the bed for the next 12 hours.

Studies also say that when we emotionally bond with our cats, it’s more intensely than with out dogs!  (Swear, I didn’t make it up!)  It’s no wonder we dread the trip to the vet with our precious, beloved pussy cats so much that we just don’t do it and hope OUR cat doesn’t get sick.

Cimarron’s New Kitty Sensitive Solutions:

  * Tips for Travel Training cats and kittens  check it out!       Cat Carrier Training

* Medications to help the travel anxiety— ask for a dose when you schedule your appointment. Pick it up ahead and administer an hour before the trip

   * Happy Kitty Pheromone diffusers in the cat room to help reduce anxiety.  Also on sale so you can pre-treat that carrier!

   * Move directly into your exam room to avoid other animals and give kitty a chance to come out of carrier and explore a little before all of the necessary evils.

   * Fleece lined exam tables.

* More onwer comfort care allowed.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners  video on How Cat Sensitive Practices like Cimarron make the vet visit easier!

     #2 Reason to not bring cats to the vet:  She’s never sick.

Cats are largely indoor pets, so people figure thaey don’t need vaccinations, adn simce cats are so good at hiding signs of illness, it’s easy to tnik that a cat is “fine”– unitl she’s in medical crisis.  so, why put us all through all that stress and expense?  Did you know that indoor cats are actually more prone to dental disease, obesity, diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, osteoarthritis, urinary tract disorders and behavioral conditions than outdoor cats?

The best news is that medical advances in feline medicine in the past 5-7 years have given us treatments for these diseases in cats!  Many of the treatments are simple food additives.  Even treating diabetes is no longer the horror that it used to be!  Newer feline pain medications keep you cat spry and active!  A little treatment can give you back the playful, spunky kitten you once knew!

Cats should be seen once to twice yearly by their veterinarian, just like dogs,  even if they are indoors only. Veterinary Wellness exams and wellness testing can detect disease conditions early.  And early intervention is the key to a longer,  more comfortable life with fewer expensive, emotionally racking crises along the way!

We are here to do whatever we can to help you take the terror (for both you and your family felid) out of Kitty’s trip to the Vet!    



The human medical field calls it “Concierge medicine”, “boutique medicine” ,” executive health”, “VIP”, “platinum services”, “signature”, “medallion”.  In Veterinary Medicine, we call it customer service.    In a nutshell, human physicians are deciding to get out of the Insurance rat race that forces them to triple book and spend only 7 minutes with each patient.  Many are deciding to spend quality time with their patients, examining all their body parts, discussing not just the complaint of the day, but wellness, nutrition, exercise, behavioral concerns, and quality of life.  They are trimming their patient bases down from 2500 patients to 500 to allow the personalized attention, comprehensive screening and customized health plans they want to provide.  Many advertise in-office blood draws and lab testing and rapid turn around times of lab results.   In order to still make the salaries they want, though, physicians have to compaensate for fewer patients by charging all the remaining patients a “retainer” or service priviledge fee of anywhere from $1500 – $5000 a year.  Mind you, that only gets you the above services.  Patients still have to pay thier office visit co-pays and submit to their insurance companies for any testing/ treatments performed.

I find it amusing that we, at Cimarron Animal Hosptial ,provide all these services Everyday, to Every patient!   At Cimarron Animal Hospital, we schedule most patients 20 minutes of Doctor time.  The Doctor performs a comprehensive exam on every pet, regardless of the complaint.   (When was the last time a physician looked in your ears when you went in complaining of a hang nail?)  The Doctor discusses diet, exercise, weight management, and behavior issues as they apply.  Our veterinarians consider the whole pet, performing a lifestyle risk assessment and providing an Individualized Medical Plan for every patient!   We provide a VIP waiting room– sodas and water for the people, water and treats for the pets!  That’s part of the service every day, for everyone– no extra charge!  Our goal is to return every client phone call before the end of the work day.  The Doctor or Nurse will call you about lab results, treatment plans, etc.  Our after hours calls are taken by a Veterinary Emergency Service– you talk directly to skilled veterinary staff 24 hours a day!  Your pet gets blood and urine samples collected and many tests run right in the office!  Test results are usually available in 10 minutes to  24- 72 hours (not weeks from now)!   That’s just part of our Great Client Service! 

Can you imagine if vets started charging clients $1500/ year for the first pet  ($1000/ additional pets) just to do what we do every day?  Wow!

Our physician couterparts think it’s a special service to advertise that they ” are always learning about the latest innovations in healthcare that enables us to detect diseases at their earliest stage.”  That’s what veterinarians have been doing forever!

At least human physicians are learning what veterinarians have always practiced– good customer service makes customers happy.  Too bad they think we should be so beholden to them that they feel they should be paid $1500 or more a year for what veterinarians do for the cost of an office call!  (Or, maybe we vets ought to wise up and start charging for the priviledge of personal service?!?  Good grief, what would the world come to?!?)

 Pet owners often wonder why veterinarians insist on doing an exam when they give vaccinations. “I know my pet is healthy.  I just want the vaccinations.” 

Over 70% of “Well Vaccination Visits” turn up some kind of disease condition.  Not all of these conditions preclude vaccinations, but some certainly do.  If a pet has a fever, for instance, vaccines could be rendered inactive– no benefit to the patient and a waste of money. And, vaccinating a pet whose immune system is already burdened fighting another disease could compromise that pet’s ability to heal.

It’s also the law.  A veterinarian must have a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship in order to administer medication, including vaccines. We believe that means a full physical examination of the patient and health consultation with the owner.

Vaccinations are potent immune stimulants that can cause serious side effects such as immune mediated disease and anaphylactic shock.  Your veterinarian can treat your pet better, faster, already knowing your pet’s health status.  Pets vaccinated at  Discount Clinics receive no support from the Clinic if they develop a problem after the vaccine is given. These pets in post-vaccine distress have to go to an emergency clinic for treatment, be evaluated by a new veterianrian, then be treated at Emergency clinic prices! 

 At Cimarron Animal Hospital, we provide not only a Complete Physical Exam, but also a Nutritional consultation, a Behavior consultation and a  Risk Assessment to determine what vaccines and other preventive products or services would be beneficial to your pet, given his specific lifestye.  Not every pet needs every vaccine every year! Your veterianrian can advise you on what’s the best for your pet, latest medical  advances and the diseases prevalent in your area.  Discount clinics and Big Box Veterinary clinics are notorious for giving every patient the same thing– that’s what’s in the package– whether they need it or not.  (Giardia vaccines are not improtant to most pets living in the desert southwest as Giardia is not very prevalent here.  Cats living in most family households do not need Bordetella vaccinations.  Many cats don’t need vaccines every year. Getting unnecessary vaccinations overwhelms the immune system and can be very dangerous!)  Our veterinary staff devises an Individualized Medical Care Plan to maximize you pet’s Wellness. 

 Your pet is unique to us, not “just an animal” like any other!

Your pet’s Wellnessis really what vaccination exams are about, after all.  Everyone realizes that we give vaccines to keep our pets healthy.  But vaccines are only a small part of what keeps pets healthy.  For example, Periodontal disease which is painful, leads to tooth loss, and frequently causes liver, heart and renal disease, occurs in 80% of pets over age 3.  Yet, many pet owners don’t recognize that good dental care and professional cleanings will extend their pets’ lives and quality of life!  Your veterinarian’s Physical Eam findings and advice are at least as important, if not more improtant, than vaccinations when it comes to your pet’s well-being and longevity.

Cimarron Animal Hospital is a full service Veterinay facility comitted to providing optimal medical and wellness care to its patients.  We believe that it is medically irresponsible to administer vaccinations or medications without knowing that our patients are healthy first.

Arthritis afflicts anywhere from 30- 70% of older dogs, depending on where you read.  Arthritis can afflict any joint in the body, especially Knees, Hips, and Elbows.  Spinal arthritis is also common and can look like hip  or even neurologic disease.

Most of us recognize the signs of arthritis in dogs:  Difficulty standing, pulling forward to stand, difficulty sitting down, less activity.  Other subtle signs can appear, too:  weight shifting off the affected limb or limbs (like weight shifting forward to relieve hip/ knee pain), decreased energy, decreased appetite.  Your veterinarian’s keen eye and thorough orthopedic exam can often determine the location of arthritis pain.  Radiographs of the suspected joints can determine the severity of disease, especially when the clinical exam findings don’t exactly match the dog’s symptoms. (It is VERY common for pet owners and even veterinarians to assume dogs have hip arthritis when the problem is really in the knees or spine!– X-rays are the only way to know for sure!)

There are lots of treatment options available for dogs with osteoarthrtis pain, depending on the severity of disease and the dog’s tolerance for pain.  Many dogs show signs of severe degenerative joint disease, but seem relatively comfortable.  Other dogs show lameness before radiographic signs of disease are present.

Conservative measures start at home.  *Gentle Exercise to muscles limber, without over burdening the joints.  *Heat to help stiffness and *Cool packs to help swelling/ heat in a joint.  *Massage and manipulating the joint while the pet is resting help to improve circulation, range of motion and healing while reducing stiffness and pain.  *Swimming is a great form of exercise for arthritic patients.

Physical Therapy such as underwater treadmill, exercise sessions on balls and stairs are newer modalities being used to help dogs with arthritis pain. These methods are helpful in maintaining strength and agility in a controlled, non-jarring fashion.  Also new on the Physical Therapy front are Cold (or “Low Level”) Laser Light Therapy which reduces the pain associated with swelling and inflammation while improving circulation and decreasing nerve sensitivity!

Nutritional Supplements (sometimes called Neutraceuticals) are very helpful.  Since they provide a means of helping to keep the joints as healthy as possible with relatively few side effects, they are very popular.  (See more on Neutraceuticals- what’s really worthy.)  High potency Omega 3 FAtty Acids, especially the “EPA” (eicosapentanoic acid) fraction have been determined to be anti-inflammatory at a dose of about 20 mg/ lb.  These fatty acids will replace inflammatory fatty acids used as cell wall building blocks over time, creating happier cells throughout the body, so they are good for almost everythign that may ail an aging pet.  Glucosamine and Chondroitin have been used for a long time to help humans and pets with joint disease.  Pick your product wisely as most over-the-counter products are poorly absorbed by the body– mostly getting eliminated and never helping.  Veterinarians prefer products made by the Nutramax company for the attention to manufacturing that they use in their Gluc/ Chond products. (Learn more here).  You can feel confident that the money you spend on these products is helping as much as possible and not just going “down the drain”– or in the backyard!  The recommended dose for joint effect is also around 20 mg/ lb– a lot more than is labeled on most products– read your labels!  Numerous other anti-nflammatory herbs and spices ( yucca, turmeric, etc) and neutraceuticals are available — with less science behind them, but they may help some patients , and probably won’t hurt.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIds) are commonly prescribed by veterinarians to help alleviate the inflammation that causes a lot of the pain in osteoarthritis.  The NSAIDs available by prescription, from vets, are more potent and safer for dogs than human over-the-counter products.  Pet store over-the-counter products claiming to have aspirin or other NSAIDs in them are usually ineffective.  There are several presciption NSAIDs available for dogs now.  Your veterinarian can make suggestions based on your pet’s medical history, stage of disease, and convenience of dosing.

Pain killers are reserved for those patients whose arthritis has progressed to the point that simply relieving inflammation no longer relieves the pain.  There are now a number of pain medications being used in dogs to augment the pain relieving effects of NSAIDs.  Your veterinarian can recommend this type of medication based on your pet’s pain level and the location of the osteoarthritis (as different medications work better at different locations).

Stem Cell Therapy is a very new (this year!), promising therapy for some patients.  When pluripotent fat cells, harvested from the patient, are injected into affected joints, they are supposed to turn into the types of cells that are needed, resolving some signs of arthritis.  This technology is still in its infancy and is still controversial, but it’s showing terrific promise!  Watch for more information on this technology as it evolves!

From a hot pack to physical therapy, neutraceuticals to narcotics, dogs have never had more options for arthritis pain management.  Gone are the days when veterinarians so commonly had to euthanized pets for arthritis so severe that they couldn’t walk any more.  Recent breakthroughs in osteoarthritis treatment modalities in the last 5 years help us keep our dog-friends more comfortable and active than ever before!

Bring your “slowing down” dog to your veterinarian for an Arthritis Consult to help him live the most comfortable, fullest life possible!

A Comprehensive Health Care Plan is critical for your PUppy’s fragile, formative months 

15% Savings On Puppy Vaccinations, Exams, Laboratory Tests, Microchipping, Spay/ Neuter Surgery (If done before 6 months of age)

Physical Examinations at regular intervals, are important to detect disease early in the rapidly growing, maturing Puppy.  Remember that a puppy ages approximately 14 human years in its first 4 months of life!

Intestinal Parasite Testing (Fecal) ensures that your new puppy isn’t bringing home any parasites that can be dangerous to his own health, or contagious to humans!

Vaccinations are vital to protect a puppy against the worst contagious diseases of puppyhood.  Comprehensive puppy vaccinations provide a good base of immunity upon which immunity is built for the remainder of life. Puppies need vaccinations every 3-4 weeks from 6-8 weeks of age (depending on whether mama dog was vaccinated) through 15 weeks of age for a full first year of protection.

     Distemper / Parvo / Hepatits are highly contagoius, sometimes fatal, serious diseases of Puppies.  Vaccination and keeping your puppy Out Of Public Places Until Fully Vaccinated are the safest ways to protect him from these devastating diseases

    Bordetella (Kennel Cough) is a  highly contagious, potentially serious infectious cough.   Vaccinations help prevent infection or decrease the severity of signs causes by this particular cause of infectious cough.

     Rabies is a fatal disease that can be transferred to humans.  Many cases of canine rabies are detected in Arizona every year.   Rabies vaccinations are also required to get a dog license, which is required by law.

Spaying and Neutering  Prevents unwanted pregnancies leading to unwanted ethanized pets.  It also helps to protect your pet against certain cancers and infections as well as undesirable behaviors such as urine marking, some dominance aggression (not always and more successful if done before the behavior paattern has been established) and roaming in search of a mate (and crossing streets and getting hit by cars…).   Receive a 15% discount off the price of your puppy’s spay or neuter surgery (including all anesthesia, pre-anesthetic lab testing, IV fluids, and monitoring) if the surgery is done before your puppy is 6 months old.

Microchipping for Permanent Identification will help you get your dog back home if he or she gets lost.  Everyone thinks that his dog won’t get lost, stolen or hit by a car.  Yet, the Humane Societies are filled with lost dogs.  Even “the best trained or most timid dogs can sneak out the door, get out a door unwittingly left open by children or guests, or get confused during a move.    If your puppy has a microchip implanted under its skin ( a minor procedure done during an office visit), its chances of being reunited with you are greatly improved!

  Establishing a solid base for Wellness and Preventive Care for your new Puppy will result in many more healthy years, with fewer crises.  Let us help you get off to the right start with a discount!

Contact Us today or Call 886-1125 for details on your Puppy’s Wellness Protection Plan

A Comprehensive Health Care Plan is critical for your Kitten’s fragile, formative months 

15% Savings On Kittenhood Vaccinations, Exams, Laboratory Tests, Microchipping, Spay/ Neuter Surgery (If done before 6 months of age)

 Physical Examinations at regular intervals, are important to detect disease early in the rapidly growing, maturing kitten.  Remember that a kitten ages approximately 14 human years in its first 4 months of life!

Feline Leukemia Testing is recommended for all kittens to ensure that they do not have this incurable, ultimately fatal virus.  Once tested, kittens can be protected with vaccinations.

Intestinal Parasite Testing (Fecal) ensures that your new kitten isn’t bringing home any parasites that can be dangerous to his own health, but contagious to humans as well!

Vaccinations are vital to protect a kitten against the worst contagious diseases of kittenhood.  Comprehensive kitten vaccinations provide a good base of immunity upon which immunity is built for the remainder of life.

     Feline Leukemia Virus  can remain latent in the body for up to 3 years before causing fatal illness. 

      Feline Upper Respiratory Viruses are highly contagious, often chronic infections of the upper respiratory tract that can recur throughout a cat’s lifetime.  Vaccinations help prevent infection or decrease severity of infection.

     Rabies is a fatal disease that can be transferred to humans.  In the Desert Southwest, cats are more frequently afflicted with Rabies than are dogs.  We believe that all cats, just like all dogs, should receive regular Rabies vaccinations.  Rabies vaccinations are required to get a dog license, which is required by law.

Spaying and Neutering  Prevents unwanted pregnancies leading to unwanted ethanized pets.  It also helps to protect your pet against certain cancers and infections as well as undesirable behaviors such as urine spraying, constant vocalization with persistent heat cycles, and roaming in search of a mate (and crossing streets and getting hit by cars…).   Receive a 15% discount off the price of your kitten’s spay or neuter surgery (including all anesthesia, pre-anesthetic lab testing, IV fluids, and monitoring) if the surgery is done before your kitten is 6 months old.

Microchipping for Permanent Identification will help you get your cat back home if he or she gets lost.  Everyone thinks that their cat won’t get lost, stolen or hit by a car.  Yet, the Humane Societies are filled with lost cats.  Even “strictly indoor” cats can sneak out the door, get out a door unwittingly left open by children or guests, or get confused during a move.    If your kitten has a microchip implanted under its skin ( a minor procedure done during an office visit), its chances of being reunited with you are greatly improved!

  Establishing a solid base for Wellness and Preventive Care for your new Kitten will result in many more healthy years, with fewer crises.  Let us help you get off to the right start with a discount!

Contact Us today or Call 886-1125 for details on your Kitten’s Preventive Health Package!

What is it?  Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, the organ responsible for producing and secreting digestive enzymes.  In its “acute” form, it is a very painful condition that causes vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration in Dogs and Cats.  Cats and Schnauzers frequently (up to 80%?) develop “chronic”, low grade pancraetitis.

What Happens?   When the pancreas becomes inflamed, its digestive enzymes leak out of their storage cells and start digesting the fats that are present in every surrounding cell.  Sometimes, enough digestive enzymes leak out to start digesting nearby abdomenal fat!  This is the cuase of the intense pain seen in more severe forms of pancreatitis. The most severe form of pancreatitis, called “Acute Necrotizing Pancretitis” can be life threatening if the internal digestion is extreme.

What causes Pancreatitis?   Pancreatitis is associated with many other metabolic conditins that contribute to inflammation:  Cushing’s disease, Hyptothyroidism and Diabetes especially.  Often, we associate pancreatitis with Dietary Indiscretion.  Pets fed  “rich” or fatty foods are at high risk for pancreatitis as these foods stimulate the pancreatitis to over-produce enzymes.  Holiday table scraps are the biggest cause of pancreatitis seen in veterinary medicine!  Sometimes, pancreatitis occurs without any known predisposing cause.

How is it Diagnosed?   Diagnosis for pancreatitis depends on your veterianrian’s exam and some blood tests. 

What to do about it?   Treatment for mild pancreatitis may not require hospitalization, just some loving nursing care at home.  Your veterinarian will likely prescribe some anti-vomiting medication, maybe some antacids, pain medication and a special diet for a few days.  More severe pancreatitis may require hospitalization for IV fluids, IV pain medications and other medications to help reduce the inflammation and support the patient while the inflammation calms down.  This may take several days. 

If your pet has any of the medical conditions mentioned above that are known to predispose to pancreatitis, be sure to have him /her seen by your vet right away if vomiting or diarrhea occur.  Protect your pet from “Dietary Indiscretions”– avoid feeding table scraps/ people food and keep the garbage locked securely away from prying paws– especially during Holidays!

Take your pet in for a veterinary exam if vomiting is frequent or lasts more than 24 hours.  Take your pet to Emergency if he is not able to keep down water because of vomiting as pets can become severely dehydrated within hours!  Remember, it’s better for your pet and less expensive for you to treat disease earlier rather than waiting for worse complications before seeking help!


Normal Canine Stifle

Canine stifle (knee) arthritis

We all assume our senior dog’s difficulty rising, hind limb weakness or occasional lameness is “just arthritis”.  But, what if it’s not?  What if it’s not even arthritis at all?  Anti-inflammatories or pain medication might not help and a more serious or completely curable disease may be overlooked!

Did you know that 80% of geriatric cats (over 10 years) have osteoarthritis?  

This is pretty surprising considering that cats don’t really show signs of arthritis.  As cats get older, they not to be as rambunctious as youngsters anyway, so it’s no surprise to us when they stop racing around like maniacs, stop chasing “ghost mice” up the walls and stop leaping to the tops of tall cabinets.  But those are often signs of arthritis pain.  Some cats may indicate arthritis pain with “failed” jump attempts or long consideration before jumping up on furniture.  More subtle signs of pain in cats can include poor appetite, weight loss and poor grooming due to decreased spinal flexibility.

Pets can have difficulty rising for a number of reasons:

Arthritis of any jointKnee arthritis is almost as common as hip arthritis as many dogs injure their knees early in life, leading to years of slow wear and tear. Arthritis in the spine or even front limbs can look like hip arthritis because of pain caused by weight shifting over all the limbs while standing up. Cats often develop knee and spinal arthritis.

Traumatic Injury Torn cruciate ligaments in the knee are the one condition most common mistaken for “arthritis” in dogs and cats.

Non-Orthopedic Causes:

Degenerative spinal neurologic disease.  Dogs are too weak to rise, not painful at all!

Diabetic Neuropathy occurs in both dogs and cats, but is more common in cats

Cat with bone tumor

Metabolic diseases can cause generalized weakness

Heart disease, especially in large breed dogs (who we habitually assume “just have arthritis”)

Infectious Diseases such as Tick Fever in dogs, Feline Leukemia and FIV in cats

Valley Fever frequently spreads to long bones and the vertebrae in dogs, causing pain that mimic arthritis!

Bone Cancer which requires aggressive pain management and treatment sooner, rather than later.

When you consider how many things may be causing signs that can look just like arthritis in pets, it’s easy to see that treating with “just some arthritis (pain, anti-inflammatory) medicine” could be doing a serious disservice to the pet!  Sure, it might help the pain in an underlying condition, but at what cost?  Allowing Valley Fever, a curable disease, to progress unchecked?  Ignoring diabetes—treatment of which will resolve the neuropathy and cure the weakness?  Missing the opportunity to surgically repair the torn Cruciate Ligament, minimizing further development of arthritis?

Find out the real cause, extent and location of your pet’s weakness or orthopedic pain with Arthritis Screen Radiographs!  

 Along with a good orthopedic examination, radiographs are the only way to definitively differentiate osteoarthritis from everything else.

 Any patient showing signs of limb weakness or pain in any bone, joint or in the spine should have x-rays taken.

Radiographs tell your veterinarian:

 If there is osteoarthritis or other orthopedic disease that explains the symptoms. If not, further testing for metabolic or infectious disease should be pursued.

If there is evidence of cancer or Valley Fever.

 If arthritis is present, how severe?  This helps your vet make the best recommendations for pain control therapy.

Exactly which joints are involved?  This allows your vet to recommend targeted therapies like home physical therapy or cold laser therapy.

Make sure your veterinarian knows what she is treating your pet for.   Don’t settle for “trying” some anti-inflammatories or other pain medications.  Ask for Radiographs.  Even if your veterinarian can feel or see abnormalities in a joint during an orthopedic exam (which should be part of every physical exam—make sure your vet puts all the joints through a range of motion and examines the spine- Every Time!), ask for Radiographs.  Knowing not just whether there is arthritis, but where it is and how involved it is helps  you and your veterinarian make the best choices for treatment for a long, comfortable, happy life!

Another great article on Osteoarthritis in Dogs  click here

For even more on Arthritis in cats and dogs see VeterinaryPartner.com