The Tucson Cimarron Animal Hospital Team is committed to providing a Fear Free veterinary experience, to the best of our ability, for every pet we care for.

Working Toward aFearFreeLogo See our Fear Free Initiative

Here are our suggestions for Fear Free Veterinary Visits:

  •  Bring your pet’s favorite treats with you.
    • Give a couple small bites in the car
    • Give a bite when you arrive in the waiting room, while practicing “Sit” and “Lie down”
    • Give a bite when you settle into the exam room, again while practicing calm behaviors
    • Save the rest for your veterinary care team!  This way, they will have more opportunity to give treats to help make the experience        more pleasant!
  • Do not feed your pet after 6:00 pm the night before a visit so they are more willing to take treats along the way.
  •  Practice Riding in the Car, if your dog is not a big fan.

* Let him eat treats in the car, without turning it on

* Gradually get him to get in the car for treats

* Let him eat treats with the car on, without driving

* Reward calm behavior in the car with treats.

  •  Ask your Veterinarian for a Canine Calming Kit for anxiety or carsickness if needed
  •  Visit your Veterinary Clinic during slow times, when things are calm. Call your clinic ahead of time, to make sure the place is going to be quiet.

Practice calm behaviors like “Sit”, “wait”, and “Down”

                 * Practice getting on and off the scale, giving a treat for a calm “Sit” on the scale.

                * Practice walking through doors that make that your pet nervous.

                * Practice being on the Exam table. Make sure your pet’s favorite treats are always there! Ask your  veterinary care team if you can just practice without an exam – only loves and pets.

                * Let your Vet Care Team give treats too! Either use yours or let them “spoil” your pet with something new and different!  Speak up if your pet has any food allergies or is on a Prescription diet!

  •  Schedule Mini Training Sessions for your Pet with your Veterinary Behavior Technician/ Assistant for special issues like these:
    • Fear of nail trims
    • Fear of ear exams
    • Fear of face handling

             Cimarron’s Veterinary Assistant Leeanne is a PetSmart Certified Trainer and has over 20 hours in veterinary behavior modification continuing education just this year!  A short, 15 minute session only costs  $15.  She does training by appointment during our quieter hours, to teach pets to be calmer.

Request An Appointment here      Mon and Wed 9:00am-  2:00pm

                                                                 Tues                  12:00pm- 2:00pm

                                                                Thursday         2:00pm- 5:00pm

  •  Some Tools that can help:

* “Happy  Doggy Pheromones” such as Adaptil in the carrier, in the car on your vet and in their                        exam rooms mimic the soothing scents of mama’s milk glands (really!)

              * ThundershirtsR/ Anxiety WrapsR—their firm swaddling effect calms many anxious dogs.

               Natural Supplements such as  Zylkenetm and Composuretm  given at home for 2-24  hours before a visit can really help with mild anxiety.

              * Prescription oral medications may be needed for pets with more significant anxiety. Anxiety medications need to be tailored to each individual pet (just like humans!) since pets react differently to                          different medications.  If one type of medication or one dose doesn’t work something different can be tried                    next time until you find the right combination of treatments that makes both you and your pet the most                          comfortable.

Injectable medication or additional oral medications can also be given by our Veterinarian once you are in the clinic if your dog is still very anxious. This is a very valuable tool in allowing a stress free examination, blood collection or other testing. It may cost a little more, but you and your pet will both enjoy the experience much more!

If you have questions about helping your pet have a more Fear Free Veterinary Experience, please contact us!  Remember, the Fear Free Veterinary Visit really starts at home.  Let us know if your pet has Veterinary Anxiety when you make your appointment!

520 886-1125    Send Inquiries here   

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♥♥♥   It’s the month of love! Hugs! Kisses!   ♥♥♥

If your pet’s bad breath makes them positively un-kissable, it’s time schedule their yearly checkup today!

It’s that time of year again. A month about love, hugs, kisses and chocolate. And when it comes to your pet, 3 out of 4 of those come out way on top! (Chocolate is a no-no, but you already knew that!)

What if your pet’s bad breath makes them positively un-kissable? Bad breath may mean there is an issue with your pet’s teeth and gums. But it may also be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Either way, if dental conditions are left untreated, you may put your pet at risk for problems in their mouth (periodontitis) or with internal organs (heart disease, just to name one!).

The challenge most pet owners face is that even if their pet’s breath smells fine, some dental conditions are hard to spot. Keeping your pets healthy from tooth to toe shows the world how much you love them. What is the best way to keep your pet in tiptop shape? Regular check ups with your vet, High quality diet, and Healthy Teeth and Gums!

Dental Treatment Discounts Feb 1 – March 15, 2015!  Call for details.

Schedule your appointment today for your FREE Dental exam for an estimate for your pet’s Comprehensive Dental Assessment under anesthesia/ Cleaning and Treatment!


“Nah.  She’s perfectly fine”.

Cats are The Masters of Concealing Illness!  Being both a predator and a prey species in the wild makes them uniquely adept at compensating for illness to survive and not showing signs of weakness.

Regular Physical exams by your veterinarian can identify many problems that your kitty may not be “telling” you about.  Commonly discovered issues include: painful dental disease, obesity, ear infections and osteoarthritis.  Annual Wellness blood and urine screening can identify conditions such as: kidney disease, liver disease, pancreatitis and even diabetes!

“Well, if he has any of those conditions, there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.”

All of these conditions can be treated, managed, or outright cured with the right care!  Identifying issues early allows us to remove painful conditions sooner, so your cat can be happy and active.  Early detection of metabolic diseases and age-related organ failure lets us make lifestyle and nutrition changes that slow down the progression of those conditions so your feline friend can continue to be a happy, active member of your family longer.

“It upsets her too much to bring her in”

Here are some great suggestions to help  get your cat more accustomed to coming in to the vet.



And don’t forget the Feliway for trips to the Vet!

If your cat hasn’t been in to see the vet within the last year, it’s time!

Don’t let your kitty slip into a state of “sick beyond repair” when we can do just as much to help cats live longer and better as we can dogs!

Cats are prone to Stress / Anxiety– especially those in multi-cat households!  Here are some tips to help reduce your cat’s stress level.

  • 1.Create high places and private spaces for your cat
  • 2.Create a refuge where your cat can feel safe
  • 3.Follow these litter box tips:
    • Provide one per cat plus one additional in your home
    • Place in a location where there are multiple entries and exits if your home has more than one pet
    • Should be at least 1.5x your cat’s body length
    • Scoop at least once daily
    • Clean once a week with mild detergent, rinse and dry throughly then fill with clean litter
  • 4.Place litter boxes far from food bowls and in quiet places

  • 5.Praise good behavior – don’t punish your cat for accidents
  • 6.Give your cat something to scratch, which releases pheromones and makes her feel happy
  • 7.Keep her in shape – overweight cats can’t move or jump
  • 8.Create a play area with toys and other items to keep her active. Giving her things to hunt in the house helps relieve pent up needs.

  • 9.Indoor cats can get bored, so give yours a view of the world outside
  • 10.If you have more than one cat, make sure you have enough food, water, litter boxes and safe places for everyone
  • 11.Consider Feliway “happy kitty pheromones” in diffusers around the house or in your cat’s favorite room.
  • 12.Talk to your veterinarian about the following therapies:
  •      “Composure” Nutritional supplement with L- theanine
  •      “Zylkene”  Nutritional supplement with caseine
  •      Hills c/d Multicare Stress formula food
  •      Psychoactive medications as a last resort

CD stress Logo

Cats are often afflicted by stress.  As both predator and prey animals in nature, their nervous systems are “geared up” for “Flight or Fight” at a moment’s notice!  Cats living in multi-cat households are more likely to be stressed due to inter-pet conflicts.

Cats who are stressed are more susceptible to chronic inflammatory conditions and weakening of the immune system.  Feline Interstitial Cystitis (FIC) is a common, painful inflammatory condition of the urinary bladder that causes cats to urinate outside of their litterboxes, vocalize when they urinate or have blood in their urine.  Stressed cats are more likely to have relapses of upper respiratory symptoms.  They are irritable, reclusive, antisocial.


This new food formula is a spin off of the long trusted c/d formula used to treat Feline urinary syndrome (FUS) for decades.  This new formula not only helps stress- induced FIC by controlling the chemistry of the urine, but has the added benefits of  tryptophan and alpha-casozepine to also reduce the stress levels that CAUSE the FIC in the first place!

Everyone knows the old wives’ tail about the tryptophan in your turkey dinner making you sedate.  C/d Multicare Stress is super-dosed with L- tryptophan– way more than your Thanksgivnig dinner!  Tryptophan is the amino acid precursor to serotonin, one of the brain’s key relaxation hormones!  More tyrptophan mean more opportunity for more serotonin!

Alpha-casozepine is a product of the digestion of casein, a milk protein that is implicated in several hormone mechanisms in the brain.  It seems to stimulate GABA receptors in the brain, which blunt anxiety responses.  It also may have an role in increasing Dopamine, a reward signal hormone for the brain.

  • This prescription fromula is not only the diet of choice of many veterinarians for cats with FIC, but will serve as an adjunctive treatment for any cat that is experiencing stress symptoms such as irritability, “jumpiness”, hiding from or fighting with other pets in the house,  even without urinary signs!

A fabulously promising new way to treat kitty anxiety!  Just feed your cat!  No pills, medications, etc!

Ask your kitty’s veterinarian if this formula might be a good option to try with your stressed/ anxious kitty cats!

Read the scientific publication about the key ingredients in Hills c/d Multicare Urinary Stress formula HERE


old dogSeptember is Senior Wellness Month at Cimarron Animal Hospital Tucson a month dedicated to addressing the specific concerns and problems of our senior pets. We try to screen all pets past the age of 9 years for any underlying “senior” problems. As a direct result of vaccinations, neutering and improved nutrition, our pets are living longer and fuller lives. With the blessing of longer life comes the reality of a higher incidence of age related diseases.

Our senior wellness program focuses on early identification and prevention of the most common  causes of death and disabiity in older animals: heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes. This program allows us to detect problems before they become critical.

 Senior Wellness Comprehensive Exams at Cimarron Animal Hospital include: 

  • Complete Physical Exam
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Diagnostic Chemistry
  • Urinalysis
  • Pancreatitis Screen
  • Cardiac Screen
  • Thyroid Screen
  • Diabetes Screen
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Weight Management
  • Pain Management (arthritis is common in both cats and dogs!)
  • Preliminary Arthritis Screening option

During September, Cimarron celebrates Seniors by offering this Senior Screening program at a 15% discount!* This early detection system will increase the quality of your pet’s life by making the “Golden Years” Happier and Healthier.

* Includes Comprehensive Exam, Senior Wellness Lab Tests and Arthritis Screening Radiographs

Dogs can develop painful conditions over time.  My clients often say that they don’t believe that their dogs are in pain “because they aren’t whining, and they are eating and drinking fine.”  While it’s true that some of our house dogs are very communicative and will whine or cry out when they are injured,  most dogs don’t “say” anything when pain develops slowly over time.  They just carry forth, bravely, to please their masters, until the pain is too much to bear.  Then they will show their discomfort in subtle ways.

Arthritis and Dental disease are common causes of chronic pain in dogs.


Dogs have variable pain tolerances, just like people.  Some will limp with the tiniest bit of discomfort, while most dogs will just


  • Shift their weight off a sore limb
  • Lick a painful area excessively
  • Avoid jumping up on furniture or into the car
  • Decrease their activity
  • Walk with a stiff or stilted gait
  • Get up slowly and carefully
  • Muscle loss in the painful limb
  • Have an abnormal sway at the hip

If you notice your dog showing any of these signs, don’t make excuses for them!  It’s not “just old age”, it’s a disease of old age, that can be treated!  Dogs rarely have to be euthanized “because she can’t walk” any more!  We have terrific medications that can keep your pet comfortable and active through her senior years!  Please visit your veterinarian for an Arthritis Screen (and probably radiographs) to determine whether your pet’s lifestyle could be improved with arthritis treatments!

(CAUTION: There are a number of conditions that can look like arthritis pain, but are not – like heart disease, for one.  These conditions are also treatable, but can’t be dismissed as “he just has arthritis”.  Pain medication and joint supplements won’t help and you may be sacrificing years with your pet by ignoring a condition or treating it improperly.  ASK for the Arthritis Screen radiographs to confirm that you and your vet are, indeed, treating arthritis signs!)

Personal Experience: My Giant (90#) niece dog injured her knee when she was middle-aged.  By age 9, she was pretty lame.  She did really well with a single medication for 3 years!  She was still able to run with her kids and chase the local wildlife!  When that wasn’t enough, her parents gave her some additional medication and bought her another year of comfort and tail wagging happiness.  We lost her cancer– completely unrelated to her arthritis, because she was able to be with us long enough to get cancer, because we kept her happy and active until she was 14!  That’s a big improvement over survival times of giant breed dogs 10 years ago, before medications were readily available for dogs!


Signs of dental pain commonly seen include:


  • Eating on one side of the mouth
  • Dropping food while eating
  • Eating food whole, when she used to be a chewer
  • Refusing dry food/ getting “finicky”
  • Lip smacking/ licking
  • RARELY: Decreased appetite, weight loss

Your veterinarian’s oral exam may uncover some conditions.  Often there can be painful disease under the gum line that can only be identified with oral radiographs.  Choose a vet who offers dental radiographs (anesthesia is required in pets) for your pet’s oral / dental care!  Because many dogs are quite stoic and will continue to eat despite aggregious dental disease, a dental check up with dental radiographs and a cleaning are the best way to keep your pet’s mouth and whole body healthier for years!  Best way to “buy” years of companionship!

Knee Arthritis

Knee Arthritis

The two most common causes of pain in cats are ARTHRITIS PAIN and DENTAL PAIN.


Arthritis affects up to 70% of senior cats (as well as dogs), but most people don’t think about that.  Most people don’t believe that their cat is any pain at all.  Cats are so good at hiding their pain that it’s easy to make other excuses for their inactivity: “he’s never been very active”, “she’s always hidden under my bed– that’s where she feels safe since…(the new dog, my daughter moved away, etc)”, “he’s just getting old and slowing down.”  But, a careful observer will notice the tell tale signs that something is really amiss:


  • Sleeping more often/ longer
  • False starts while trying to jump up
  • “Misjudging” a jump
  • Decreased grooming/ poor coat condition
  • Weight loss/ dehydration (can’t get to food/ water)
  • Accidents around/ outside of the litterbox

Arthrtis in cats CAN and should be treated.  After all, we don’t tolerate debilitating pain for ourselves, why would we ignore in our life companion kitty cats?  Newer medications are safe and very helpful in giving cats back their mobility!

We recently gave a cat patient a series of Adequan injections: after the 6th injection, the owner reported that her kitty was jumping up on her lap like he used to years ago!  2 weeks later, she reported that he was now defending her lap from the other cat in the house like the “good old days” of his  youth!  He is also on oral medication that his owner hides in his food. He doesn’t even know that he’s being medicated!  It’s so amazing to see “old” cats find their inner kitten again!

Arthritis in cats is most reliably diagnosed with a combination of physical exam findings and radiographs.  Schedule your kitty’s Arthritis Screen exam as soon as possible, if he shows any of the above signs!  By the time she’s showing you signs like these, it’s already serious.


Recognizing dental pain in cats takes some careful observation, and knowing that what your seeing means something– pain:

  • Grinding Teeth
  • Lip smacking/ licking excessively
  • Decreased grooming/ poor coat
  • Eating less/ becoming finicky
  • Dropping food while eating
  • Tiny crumbies of food left over in the bowl*

* I just figured this one out recently when my own cat developed a bad tooth! Who knew?

Dental disease can be difficult to impossible to identify, even by a veterinarian, without sedation and dental radiographs as cats are prone to developing very painful lesions in their teeth under their gumlines called “”resorptive lesions”.  The place to start is a thorough physical exam by a veterinarian experienced in spotting the subtle signs of resorptive lesions when they  appear at the gumline and who has the ability to perform dental radiographs.

We all know what a painful tooth feels like!

OvOLD DOG WALKERer 70% of dogs develop osteoarthritis in their Golden Years.   This most often affects the knees, hips or spine ,causing lameness and weakness from muscle loss.  Pets may have difficulty standing up or sitting down.  They may be reluctant to jump on furniture or in the car.  They may lie around more and play less.

While most owners are aware that these are common signs of age- or injury- related arthritis, most owners are NOT aware that these same symptoms can be signs of HEART DISEASE,  especially in large breed dogs (the same dogs likely to get hip and knee arthritis)!

Large breed dogs, especially Standard Poodles, Portugese Water Dogs and Others are susceptible to Cardiomyopathy.  When this disease is slowly progressive, organs and muscles are slowly starved of oxygen and blood nutrients. * This causes deterioration and weakness of muscles farther from the heart (the rear limbs).

It is easy to assume that the dog “just has arthritis”.  Veterinarians can even be deceived since the signs of cardiomyopathy can be very subtle.  The heart can sound normal to a stethescope, initially.  However, an EKG may detect arrhythmias (abnormal heart electrical conduction).  A skilled veterinarian can detect femoral pulse weakness– but this is very subjective and based on individual experience, skill and talent.

Radiographs of your dogs’ rear limbs and (especially lower) spine can be taken to determine whether his / her lameness or weakness is due to arthritis.  If she has such severe arthritis that she has trouble standing up or has lost muscle mass, the arthritic changes should be apparent on radiographs.  If there are no arthritis changes, ask your veterinarian for a Cardiac Work Up.

Treating underlying heart disease will not only help your pet feel better and be more active, it will help him live longer!

Demand Arthritis Screening Radiographs to be sure your dog has arthritis, rather than another condition, before committing your dog to years of arthritis/ pain medication that won’t help your pet feel better (and will make your wallet ache with the  waste of dollars).

More about Heart Disease in Dogs ( and cats!)

Colorado RiverToad‘Tis the season for the toxic Colorado River Toads to come out of hibernation– with the arrival of our desert monsoons. 


Dogs can be poisoned by licking Colorado River Toads.


Signs of Poisoning include:

  • Foaming at the mouth/ Hypersalivation
  • Pawing at the mouth/ face
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

First Aid at Home includes:

  1. Lie your dog on his/ her side and run a stream of water from a hose or kitchen sprayer through your dog’s mouth from side to side. Wiping the gums and teeth with a paper towel or cloth will help to remove the mucus while you are flushing.  Try to keep your dog from swallowing as much of the water as possible.
  2. Call your vet or the nearest Veterinary Emergency Service.  They will give you further advice.

If possible, relocate the toad, without touching it to someplace far, far away!