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July 4th – People Have Fun – Pets Have Fears

By | Behavior, Client Education, News/ Events

The 4th of July can be very stressful for many pets. Some become so terrorized by the loud noises and the fireworks they panic and run away from home.  In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters.  But while many escaped pets end up there, many others are injured, killed or lost for good.


Include protecting your pet as part of your holiday planning

– Keep your pets inside on the 4th and don’t leave them home alone

– Secure the house against escapes.

– Close all doors and windows

– Put the pet in a “safe room” to decrease noise from the outside.

– Use TV or music to help cover the firework noise

– Distract your pet with toys and food puzzles

– Try calming apparel such as Thundershirts, ear muffs and caps

– Consider Pheromone sprays that give the pet a feeling of well-being…   Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs are available at pet stores.

 

Plan ahead for the likelihood your pet does escape

– Before July 4, Microchip your pet and have their collar and tags on

– Make sure the chip is registered and the contact information is up to date

.
- Take current pictures of your pet.  They may be needed for posters, emails and faxes

– Immediately contact local animal control units, shelters, rescue groups and veterinarians

– Discuss desensitizing and counterconditioning your pet with your veterinarian

 

What about drugs?

– In some cases, your veterinarian can prescribe drug therapy that may help.

– Sedatives, tranquilizers, anti-anxiety and other drugs have been used.

– However, the drug therapy approach is not always predictable or successful.

– When used alone, drug therapy often fails.

– Drug therapy more effective when used in combination with other recommendations.

Brown and white cat with white maltese dog at the vet

New Faces-New Places: An Education in Socialization

By | Behavior

“We just can’t take you anywhere!”

Have you ever said this to that friend who always does the wrong thing, is out of control, doesn’t fit in and messes up every situation? What if that “friend” is your dog?

If you have a puppy it’s important to expose him to a variety of people and places early on so nothing comes as a big scary surprise. But success can be all about timing.

Get on Board with Socialization Before that “Training Train Has left the Station

The goal of socialization is to have a dog with a good stable personality . . . a “superdog” . . . one that’s part of the family, is a good neighbor, and plays well with others, both two legged and four legged.

The optimal socialization period for puppies is between 3 and 12 weeks. This is when they learn rules and behaviors, and what is expected of them as a dog.

If the pup has the wrong experiences or misses these experiences altogether they may not have the tools needed to accept both dogs and humans and learn to live in both worlds.

For example if you take a puppy from the litter too soon he won’t learn “dog” lessons such as bite inhibitions or “play with me” posturing. You may end up with aggression problems because he’s not used to interacting with other dogs.

Similarly if a dog is only around other dogs he may not have developed the ability to bond with humans.

Generally, there is a 6-12 week window which is the secondary time frame to socialize the dog to humans. If that process is delayed it may be impossible to socialize.

So by 12 weeks, a puppy should be able to meet new and different people in a variety of situations without fear or aggression.

Socializing is not that hard and can be done through repetitive play, speech and touch. That’s called habituation, which is getting a dog used to stuff.

Of course it’s hard to anticipate every situation your dog might encounter.

Our dog Foxy, calm and relaxed in most settings is not bothered at all by the noisy vacuum cleaner, even when it gets close to her. But she was terrified the first time a locomotive train with a loud horn went by. And while cows don’t faze her she is uncomfortable around horses.

Even our lizard showed intense dislike to any man wearing a hat.

But familiarity breeds content. So get out there and take your dog with you.

But this does raise another issue.

Does the optimum period for socialization conflict with the conventional wisdom of keeping other dogs away from young puppies who are susceptible to diseases? We’ll answer this question in the next installment:

In the House, On the Porch, In the Yard, At the Park –How Far Should A Pup Go?


Have a question about your pet or its behavior?
Contact us at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic by
texting or calling 480-987-4555.


Long haired chihuaha tilting head

Why Foxy Woke Up With a Tilted Head

By | Disease and Medicine, RIKKI "Tails"

Foxy was perfectly fine when I put her to bed the night before, but when I went to get her the next morning, she could barely walk, and kept stumbling and falling down. Her head was cocked at a 45° angle and she had pooped and thrown up in her bed.

My first thought was that she had had a stroke or perhaps a spider had bitten her. My next thought was to call Marc. He knew what it was just from my description of her symptoms and a trip to the clinic only confirmed the diagnosis.

Foxy had “Idiopathic Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome”

a disease found primarily in dogs seven years and older. It comes on suddenly and dramatically with ‘idiopathic’ meaning ‘arising spontaneously’ and ‘from an unknown cause’.

Telltale signs include:

  • Loss of balance – stumbling, staggering, even falling down or rolling around
  • Head tilt
  • Nystagmus or erratic eye movements, where the eyes have trouble focusing and can’t stay still
  • Loss of appetite due to nausea and/or vomiting

Now there could be other reasons for these ailments such as an ear infection, a perforated ear-drum, a virus or an adverse reaction to a medication. It could even be something really serious like a stroke, polyps, a tumor or brain damage.

But since my 12 year old dog was normal and healthy only the day before, odds are it’s a vestibular problem. The vestibular system is comprised of parts of the brain and ear and is responsible for maintaining a sense of balance so when something goes wrong the dog experiences vertigo where everything is spinning.

Marc assured me that while the condition is frightening (both for me and Foxy) and there’s no specific treatment or cure . . .

Most Dogs Do Improve.

Meanwhile though, I had to help Foxy get around since she could barely walk or even position herself to go potty.

It took a few weeks but Foxy did get better, and while she’s left with a bit of a lingering head tilt, she can run and jump again and her quality of life has not been affected.

Marc did warn me however, that it is possible for dogs to have more than one episode of idiopathic vestibular disease. If it happens again at least I’ll recognize what it is.


Have a question about your pet or its behavior?
Contact us at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic by
texting or calling 480-987-4555.


Married man and woman smiling

How Did the Dog Get to the Turkey?

By | Behavior, RIKKI "Tails"

One day, just after Thanksgiving, I arrived at the clinic in time to witness two technicians trying to get a 40-pound dachshund to throw up.

“Boy that’s the biggest, fattest dachshund I’ve ever seen,” I observed.

“Well he’s even fatter than usual after eating a turkey leg, “said one of the technicians.

Soon, the hydrogen peroxide mixture was doing its job and the dog was heaving miserably into a bucket.

“How did the dog get to the turkey?”

I asked. “I mean it’s a big dachshund but it still has those short little legs.”

“Oh, at about two in the morning the dog snatched the turkey off the coffee table,” another vet tech mentioned casually.

“Why was the dog prowling around the house in the middle of the night, and besides, who leaves a turkey out all night on a coffee table?” I wondered out loud, my housekeeping sensibilities offended.

About an hour later I noticed there was still a dachshund sitting on the exam table, but this one looked considerably smaller.

“Is that the same dog I saw before that ate the turkey?” I asked. “He looks so little now. He must have thrown up the whole bird.”

“This dog ate turkey all right,” Dr. Marc told me. “But it’s the other dog’s sister. They both stuffed themselves but the bigger dog got the lion’s share.”

During my next visit to the clinic, I noticed a tiny black and brown dog the size of a Chihuahua. The poor dog, which must have weighed all of three pounds, was standing on the exam table shivering and shaking.

“What’s wrong with this little guy?”

I asked.

chihuahua“It ate a ham” one of the technicians said.

“That dog’s not even as big as a ham,” I observed. Then, remembering the coffee table turkey I added, “How could it have snatched a ham? Where was this ham? On the floor?”

“I don’t know,” Marc sounded exasperated. “Owners didn’t even realize the ham was gone. Besides, this is nothing new. Had a beagle in here that ate a whole ham as well.”

“Why are there so many untended hams and turkeys around?”

I wondered aloud as the small dog started vomiting. The clinic was turning into a support group for bulimics.

“You know,” I mentioned to Marc, “it seems they should change that expression, ‘eats like a pig’ to ‘eats like a dog.’”


Have a question about your pet or its behavior?
Contact us at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic by
texting or calling 480-987-4555.


Close up image of chihuaha face

WHY YOUR DOG SMELLS BETTER THAN YOU

By | Behavior, Client Education

A dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a human’s (depending on the breed). While you have about 5 million scent glands, a dog, depending on the breed, has anywhere from 125 million to 300 million making your dog’s sense of smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than yours. And the part of a dog’s brain that is used to analyze smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than a human’s.

Dogs’ noses function quite differently from ours. When we inhale, we smell and breathe through the same airways within our nose. When dogs inhale, a fold of tissue just inside their nostril helps to separate these two functions.

Dogs also have a second olfactory capability, due to the Jacobson’s organ, an organ not found in human. Also called the vomeronasal organ, it’s located in the bottom of a dog’s nasal passage and picks up a variety of pheromones, the chemicals unique to each animal species that signal mating readiness and other sex-related details.

So how good is a dog’s sense of smell? If we used the sense of sight as an analogy, it means that what you can see 1/3 of a mile away, your dog could see 3,000 miles away.

We might notice a teaspoon of sugar in our cup of coffee- A dog can detect that teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water. Or one rotten apple in two million barrels.

Face of a tan and white dog with a cute nose.

Cute face, cute nose! At Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

A drug sniffing dog detected 35 pounds of marijuana that was packed in a plastic container and submerged in a gas tank filled with gasoline.

A cancer-sniffing dog kept returning to a spot on a patient’s skin that doctors had declared cancer-free. A subsequent biopsy confirmed there was melanoma in a small fraction of the cells.

What does this super sense of smell mean for your family dog’s behavior?

It’s why male dogs that have not been neutered can pick up a scent and follow their nose to the receptive female that might be nowhere in the neighborhood.

It’s why your dog knows there’s a treat sitting on a table that is too high up for him to ever be able to see it.

It’s why the local fire hydrant and/or tree, acts as Fido’s Facebook- letting all the dogs know who’s been by.

Yellow fire hydrant.

Facebook for Dogs in San Tan Valley, waiting for someone to come along and “post” on its time line.

 

 

Have a question about your pet or its behavior?  Contact us at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic by texting or calling  480-987-4555

Male veterinarian vaccinating small dog in vet clinic

If You Lose Your Pet Will He Lose His Life?

By | Client Education, Products / Reviews

 Don’t Skip the Chip.

You do everything for your pet to be happy and healthy at home

  •  get the right food
  •  keep up with their vaccinations
  •  provide a soft bed
  • lots of toys
  • and plenty of love from the family.

But what if they leave home, get lost or wander away? How will they get back?

A brown dog casts a sad look from behind a wire gate at Animal Control.

A lost pet at Pinal County Animal Control.

            “One in three pets will get lost during their lifetime.” 

The best chance of having your furry friend return depends on something as small as a grain of rice… a microchip placed under the skin.

Microchips provide positive proof of ownership and can be used on a variety of pets including birds, reptiles and horses. People who own very valuable animals often have them microchipped for monetary reasons. But the most important reason for your family pet to be chipped really is a matter of life and death. If your pet gets lost and is picked up by Animal Control or is turned into a city pound he may only have a certain number of days at that facility before he could be euthanized. However, that won’t happen if a microchip is detected. Instead, efforts will be made to identify and contact his owner.

A microchip is being inserted into the back of a white dog between the shoulder blades.

A microchip is easily inserted into a pet. Just like giving a vaccine.

How Is the Chip Inserted?

The procedure is simple. A veterinarian injects the microchip beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. Similar to a routine vaccination, the process takes only a few seconds. No anesthetic is required. The microchip itself has no internal energy source and will last the life of your pet. It is read by passing a microchip scanner over the pet’s shoulder blades. The scanner will emit an audible “beep” when it detects the chip and your pet’s unique ID code will show up on the scanner’s screen. Encryption features prevent duplication or cloning of the identification code. The chip is not affected by x-rays or MRIs and cannot be readily removed. But the microchip is just the first part of bringing your pet home. If your pet is microchipped but not yet registered he is not protected.

 

 

            ” 42% of microchipped pets are not registered in a pet recovery service.”

Why is Microchip Registration Important?

Enrolling in the registry services offered by microchip companies such as AVID and HomeAgain, and keeping the information in the registry up-to-date is important so you can be reached quickly when your lost pet is found. Almost all veterinarians and animal shelters across the country are equipped with scanners that can read your pet’s microchip. When your lost pet is taken to an animal shelter or veterinary clinic, they will scan your pet for a microchip and will read its unique code. This code is stored with your pet’s profile and linked to your contact information in a national pet recovery database. This is the number used to identify the pet and retrieve your contact information, which is used to contact you and reunite you with your pet. So register your pet and keep your pet’s profile current if addresses, phone numbers and alternate contacts have changed. When pet owners forget to register their pet’s microchip and the pet’s owner can’t be found, shelters have to make difficult decisions regarding the fate of the animal.

Also see Microchipping Your Dog and Microchipping Your Cat.

Call Santanvalleyvets at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic (or Text us at the same number)  at 480-987-4555

Sidewinder rattlesnake from San Tan Valley Area

Who’s Your Favorite Snake?

By | Client Education, News/ Events

These 6 contestants were collected in the San Tan Valley and Superstition Mountain area.

In honor of World Snake Day, vote for your favorite on our Facebook page.

A. “Go-fer Broke” Gopher Snake

Tan and brown blotched snake.

The Gopher Snake (also called a Bull Snake) is not venomous, but is often confused with a rattlesnake.

-Large and heavy-bodied, the gopher snake typically reaches 4 feet in length

-Because of its similar body markings and behavior when threatened (hissing, tail shaking and strike –posturing) it is frequently mistaken for a rattlesnake

-But a tapered tail, the absence of a rattle, the lack of a facial pit, and the round pupils all distinguish the gopher snake from the rattlesnake.

-A good climber, the gopher snake is active mainly during the day, except in extreme heat.

-.A constrictor, its prey is mostly mammals, although birds and their eggs are also eaten.

B. “Diamond Dave” Diamondback

Diamondback Rattlesnake, coiled and ready strike.

Diamondback Rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike. Most commonly encountered rattlesnake in San Tan Valley.

-The Western diamondback rattlesnake ranging from 3-5 feet long, is a heavy-bodied snake with a triangular shaped head and two dark diagonal lines on each side of its face running from the eyes to its jaws.

-Its venom is actually a toxic saliva: a mixture of enzymes that destroys blood or paralyzes nerves.

-Western diamondbacks are pit vipers which means that they have a heat sensing pit behind each nostril that can detect differences in temperature as little as a fraction of a degree apart. The heat given off by an animal is detected by the snake helping it to determine predator from prey.

-Mice, rats, rabbits, gophers, ground dwelling birds, lizards and other small animals make up the diet of this snake. But diamondbacks also have many predators such as eagles, hawks, roadrunners, king snakes, coyotes, bobcats and fox.

-During the heat of the day diamondbacks will remain coiled in the shade of shrubs or rocks, while in winter, they retreat into caves or similar places to hibernate.

-Its rattle is made up of keratin (the same protein hair and fingernails are made of) and a new segment is added each time a rattlesnake sheds

-Male rattlesnakes engage in ritualistic combats during the spring mating season presumably to determine the sexual fitness of a male.

C. “Carol” Coral Snake

Beautiful red, black and pale yellow banded coral snake.

Beautiful red, black and yellow banded coral snake. Very secretive and rarely seen.

-The Arizona coral snake is a slender, small snake reaching only 13 to 21 inches.

-It is a brightly colored snake with broad alternating bands of red and black separated by narrower bands of bright white or yellow which completely encircle the body

-A secretive snake, it usually emerges after sundown, feeding primarily on blind and black-headed snakes. Occasionally it eats lizards or other small, smooth-scaled snakes.

-While its venom is similar to that of the cobra, because it is small with small front fixed fangs the venom does not pose as much danger to humans as that of rattlesnakes.

-Many people use a rhyme to identify a coral snake-“red on yellow kill a fellow, red on black venom lack”

D. “Longnose Rose” Longnose snake

Black and yellow banded snake with some red highlights.

Longnose Snake has a banded appearance like many other snakes in our area. It is nonvenomous.

-This slender snake varies considerably in pattern and coloring, reaching lengths of slightly over 3 feet.

-It is sometimes confused with the venomous coral snake because of its similar color banding pattern but can be distinguished by its long nose and banding that does not completely encircle it body.

-When disturbed, the longnose snake writhes and twists its body, vibrates its tail, and defecates feces and blood from its anal opening.

-An excellent burrower if the soil is sandy, it can also retreat under rocks or into rock crevices or rodent burrows,

-Active primarily at night, it feeds on lizards, lizard eggs, small snakes, small mammals, and birds.

E. “Sid” Sidewinder

The sidewinder's brown, black and tan blends in well with the desert floor.

The sidewinder coloration blends in well with its sandy surroundings. It can be a “feisty” rattlesnake.

-This small rattlesnake about 2 feet long can be tan, cream, or light gray with a dark stripe extending from the eye to above the corner of the mouth. Its coloring often matches the soil or sand on which the snake lives.

-During mild spring days it is out and about but seeks shelter in underground burrows during the hot summer months, only coming out at night

-In sandy areas this snake often coils partially buried in the sand, with only its head exposed.

-Its name is derived from its distinctive method of moving sideways with its body winding through an “S” shaped curve leaving distinctive parallel J-shaped tracks in the sand.

-As with other “pit-vipers” the sidewinder uses the heat sensing pits on each side of the face between the eye and nostril to detect warm-blooded predators and prey. –

An ambush hunter, the sidewinder coils and waits for unsuspecting lizards, mice, birds, and snakes to wander within striking distance.

F. “Lionel” Lyre Snake

The grayish banded lyre snake has a pattern on top of its head that resembles the musical instrument.

The lyre snake is named for the pattern on the top of its head that resembles the musical instrument. While mildly venomous, it does not pose a serious threat to pets.

– Named for the V-shaped marking on its head that looks like the musical instrument

-This mildly venomous, rear-fanged snake is about 4 feet in length

-Lives in rocks, crevices and fissures -Feeds primarily on lizards, but also eats birds and bats.

-Primarily nocturnal, it is seldom active during the day.

-When alarmed, the lyre snake will raise up, shake its tail, hiss, and strike, biting the intruder if not left alone. This behavior, sometimes causes the lyre snake to be mistaken for a rattlesnake.

 

 

Do you know what to do if a rattlesnake bites your pet?

Bonnie’s Parents knew exactly what to do.

Questions??  Call or TEXT us at 480-987-4555.

Your San Tan Valley Vets at       Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

Clinic cat Joe is prepared with his fire extinguisher by his side

Is Your Pet a Pyromaniac?

By | Client Education, News/ Events

 

Well, maybe not intentionally, but

almost 1,000 household fires are caused by pets each year.

How does this happen? Take a walk through your home and consider all the potential fire hazards just waiting to become an inferno.

  •      Lit candles, fireplaces, BBQs
  •      Plug in deodorizers
  •      Stove top burners (especially flat glass)
  •      Electrical cords

Can your pet reach candles and topple them so they set something else on fire?

Clinic cat Joe practically has his nose in the electrical outlet.

Joe’s curiosity draws him to the electrical outlet.

Will your pet chew on electrical cords or drag them so they cause something hot to fall?

Is there food cooking enticing your pet to jump up on the stove?

The solution:

Repair, replace or remove these possible dangers and then…

  • Don‘t leave pets unattended near an open flame
  • Have pets microchipped so they can be returned if they escape during a fire
  • Train pets to come when called
  • Know their hiding places
  • Post window stickers to let people know there are pets in the house

Consider the likely scenarios when and how a fire could occur in your home- daytime, at night, when people are home and when no one is home. Every family should prepare for these eventualities with drills and an escape plan which should include the family’s pets. For more ideas on keeping your pets safe from fire visit the National Fire Protection Association’s pet web page.

 

QUESTIONS??

 Contact your San Tan Valley Veterinarians at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic   480-987-4555.  You can call or text us at this number!

 

Gold and brown Bengal cat

The Bengal- Looks Like a Wild Cat Acts Like a Pussycat

By | Breed of the Week, Client Education

The Bengal is a strikingly beautiful and unique house cat, whose sleek, muscular body and spotted coat evoke visions of a leopard ancestor, but its temperament is completely domesticated

The result of selective breeding Bengals were first bred in 1963 by crossing an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic breed, such as an Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Burmese, or Egyptian Mau.  The goal was to create a confident, healthy, and friendly cat with a highly contrasted and vividly marked coat.

Not the cat for everyone, or for first-time cat owners, Bengals are extremely intelligent, curious and active. Don’t get a Bengal if you want a sedate, sweet, gentle lap cat. They demand a lot of interaction so if you’re gone all day get two of them or don’t get one.

A bored Bengal can take things apart and open cupboards and drawers to see what’s inside

Bengals love their people and crave for attention from them. Most co-exist nicely with other pets, including dogs but are best suited to homes with older children

A gold and brown Bengal cat.

A beautiful Bengal cat at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

Constantly on the move, they love climbing to high places, so give them tall cat trees and window perches where they can bird-watch.

They also like water and may want to join you in the shower or bathtub.

Challenge their brains by teaching them tricks and games and providing them with interactive toys or puzzles that reward them with treats.

Easy to care for with weekly brushing, the Bengal’s short, luxurious, soft coat comes in many colors, from golden, rust, brown and orange to sand, buff and ivory.

They are the only domestic cat with rosettes like the markings on Leopards, Jaguars and Ocelots.

The iridescent sheen makes their coat look as if it has been sprinkled with glitter, giving it a unique golden or pearly glitter effect that is found in no other breed

 

Adult Males typically weigh 9-12 pounds, females between 7-10

Their lifespan averages 10-15 years

Bengal cats are so sought after, that a British woman paid over $50,000 for her Bengal cat in 1990

 

 

Questions??   Call or text us at 480-987-4555      Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic

 

 

A small black kitten being held up

CALLING ALL CAT LOVERS! JUNE IS “ADOPT-A-CAT” MONTH

By | Client Education, News/ Events

 Looking to adopt a cat this month?

 

1. Check state shelters and rescue groups.  Pinal County Animal Control is a great place to adopt a cat or kitten.

2. Consider adopting an older cat. An adult cat is usually already socialized and trained and just need a loving home to live out the rest of their lives

3. Prepare everyone in the house- both two-legged and four-legged -for the new addition. Try to get as much history and information as possible about the cat you are considering to make sure the newcomer is a good fit for your household.

4. Stock up on supplies you will need before the cat arrives. This includes bedding, food and water bowls, toys (appropriate for safety and age) and litter boxes.

5. Consider the expenses involved, both short and long term costs. This includes medical exams vaccines, spaying or neutering, a microchip, and ID tags, as well as food and bedding.

A beautiful striped cat up for adoption.

Dionne is a year old cat up for adoption at Pinal County Animal Control

6. “Cat-astrophe” proof your home. No poisonous house plants, no string, ribbon, tinsel or small objects within reach! Get a cat tower or a scratching post for cats to use it instead of your leather furniture!

7. Socialize your cat or kitten once they have become accustomed to your home and family. You want to live with a social cat not a wildcat or a scaredy-cat.  Socialize your kitten with this information: Socialize Your Kitten.

 

 

If you can’t adopt here are some ways to still get your “Cat Fix”

 

1. Donate supplies and goods to your local animal rescue or shelter. Food, blankets, litter and litter boxes, cat toys, towers and kennels are always welcome. You can drop these at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic, if more convenient, and we will see that they get to Animal Control.

2. Spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. Social media can reach many more potential cat adopters

3. Help out a stray cat or kitten. Even if you can’t catch it, you can leave water and shade on your patio.

4. Volunteer at your local humane society, animal shelter or rescue organization.

Cute cat up for adoption

This year and half old cat is up for adoption at Pinal County Animal Control

 

Adopting a new cat or kitten means not only did you save one life but you opened up a space at a shelter for another cat looking for a home! For more links on adopting a cat this month please click here: American Humane Society-Adopt a cat month.

 

Contact Us

270 East Hunt Hwy, Ste. #4
San Tan Valley, AZ 85143
480-987-4555