Monthly Archives

April 2016

long haired daschund after receiving antivenin for rattlesnake bite

SNAKE BITE BONNIE – What to do if a rattlesnake bites your pet!

By | Cases, Client Education

Snake Bite Bonnie

No matter how careful you are

No matter careful you are to insure your pet’s safety, no matter how mindful you are that it’s rattlesnake season, could this happen to your dog? Bonnie, a sweet little miniature Dachshund, did nothing wrong. Her owners did nothing wrong. She was just playing in her yard along with the other dogs at her house.  Suddenly, a rattlesnake appeared, biting her on the right side of the muzzle.

The owners scooped Bonnie up, jumped into the car and made the 35 minute drive from Florence to Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic in 20 minutes.

A Diamondback Rattlesnake like the one that bit Bonnie.

A Diamondback Rattlesnake like the one that bit Bonnie.

When Bonnie got to the clinic she was lying on her side, unresponsive with labored breathing and a weak pulse. Her muzzle, where she had been bitten, was swelling. She laid there on her side, not moving. The experienced staff at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic immediately took Bonnie in and began administering oxygen. As Dr. Schmidt evaluated the dog’s condition, IV fluids were started. Narcotics were given for pain. He explained the situation to the owners who already were prepared for the worst.  At this point it been less than 40 minutes since Bonnie had been bitten and she looked bad. She would have a chance with antivenin and the owners gave the go ahead.

Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic always has antivenin on hand for its clients and their pets and a vial was reconstituted. Within an hour of being bitten, Bonnie had received the antivenin and was being monitored continuously by the experienced and well trained staff. A technician constantly monitored her condition throughout the day. Later that afternoon, Bonnie became more alert and responsive. By the end of the day she was able to sit up and move around. Eventually she could walk a few steps.

This story has a happy ending because:

A).The owners got their pet to the veterinarian immediately.

B). Antivenin was administered quickly.

But luck had something to do with it as well. Rattlesnake bites can, and often are, fatal and responsible pet owners are going to great lengths to keep their pets safe. The rattlesnake vaccine can buy time and mitigate the effects of a snakebite. “Snake proofing” pets to steer clear of snakes is helpful but doesn’t take into account snakes that literally come out of nowhere. Additionally, some people are reluctant to subject their dog to the electric shock used with most snake proofing methods even though that shock could save their pet’s life. And, while Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic stocks antivenin– the cost, while nowhere approaching what’s spent when a human gets bit, is not cheap. So what is a responsible pet owner to do? Everything possible to insure your pet and a snake never, ever meet. That means assuming rattlesnakes are everywhere.

  • Don’t let your pet nose around the yard before you’ve checked what’s lurking there
  • Don’t let your pet get ahead of you on a hike.
  • Teach your pet to avoid snakes.
  • Consider a rattlesnake vaccine.

But if despite all these precautions your dog does get bit, remember,

Bonnie survived because her owners took action immediately.

 

For more information on snakes and snakebites in San Tan Valley, contact Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic

Top 10 Cat Emergencies

By | Uncategorized

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Cats often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well, which makes knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have unique signs of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound, while others have more subtle signs that can be equally dangerous if left untreated. Knowing signs of illness is crucial in determining when to seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common cat emergencies and their signs.

 

Urethral Obstruction

This is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside environment).

 

Cats will show a sudden onset of restless behavior, which includes frequent trips in and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining, there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic.

 

You should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat to be hospitalized at least 36 hours for treatment of this condition. Veterinary treatments may include a urinary catheter, intravenous fluids, and pain management. Female cats are less likely to become obstructed due to their wider urinary tract.

 

Toxicities (Poisoning)

The combination of their curious nature and unique metabolism (the way their body breaks down chemicals) makes cats vulnerable to toxins. Owners are often unaware that their home contains multiple products that are poisonous to felines. The most common cat toxins include antifreeze, Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison.

 

The signs your cat displays depends on the type of poison he or she has encountered. Antifreeze will often cause wobbliness or a drunken appearance first, then progresses to vomiting/weakness as the kidneys fail. Tylenol may cause an unusual swelling of the head and changes the cat’s blood color from red to chocolate brown. Rat or mouse poison interferes with blood clotting so you may see weakness from internal blood loss or visible blood in the urine or stool.

 

Breathing Problems

Often, cats hide the signs of breathing problems by simply decreasing their activity. By the time an owner notices changes in the cat’s breathing, it may be late in the progression of the cat’s lung disease. There are several causes of breathing changes, but the most common are feline asthma, heart disease, or lung disease.

 

Foreign Object Ingestion

Many cats love to play with strings or string-like objects (such as dental floss, holiday tinsel, or ribbon), but those strings can be dangerous for your cat. When a string is ingested by a cat, one end may become lodged or “fixed” in place, often under the cat’s tongue, while the rest of the string passes further into the intestine. With each intestinal contraction, the string see-saws back and forth actually cutting into the intestine and damaging the blood supply.

 

Signs that your cat has eaten a foreign object may include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Occasionally owners will actually see part of a string coming from the mouth or anal area. You should never pull on any part of the string that is visible; instead, call your veterinary health care team immediately.

 

Surgery is usually necessary to remove the foreign object and any damaged sections of intestine.

 

Bite Wounds

Cats are notorious for both inflicting and suffering bite wounds during encounters with other cats. Because the tips of their canine, or “fang,” teeth are so small and pointed, bites are often not noticed until infection sets in, which is usually several days after the initial injury.

 

Cats may develop a fever and become lethargic 48 to 72 hours after experiencing a penetrating bite wound. They may be tender or painful at the site. If the wound becomes infected or abscessed, swelling and foul-smelling drainage may develop.

 

You should seek emergency care for bite wounds so your veterinarian can thoroughly clean the area and prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Occasionally, the wounds can develop large pockets called abscesses under the skin that require surgical placement of a drain to aid in healing.

 

Hit By Car

Cats that spend time outdoors are at a much greater risk for ending up in the emergency room. Being hit by a car is one of the most common causes of traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, lung injuries, and head trauma. You should always seek emergency care if your cat has been hit by a vehicle, even if he or she appears normal, because many injuries can develop or worsen over the following few hours.

 

Increased Thirst and Urination

Sudden changes in your cat’s thirst and urine volume are important clues to underlying disease. The two most common causes of these changes are kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.

 

Your veterinarian will need to check blood and urine samples to determine the cause of your cat’s change in thirst and urine. Having your pet seen on an emergency basis for these signs is important because prompt treatment increases chances for recovery. Exposure to certain toxins, such as antifreeze or lilies, will show similar signs, and delaying veterinary care can be fatal.

 

Sudden Inability to Use the Hind Legs

Cats with some forms of heart disease are at risk for developing blood clots. These clots can sometimes lodge in a large blood vessel—the aorta—where they can prevent normal blood flow to the hind legs. If your cat experiences such a blood clotting episode (often called a saddle thrombus or thromboembolic episode), you will likely see a sudden loss of the use of his or her hind legs, painful crying, and breathing changes.

 

On arrival at the emergency room, your cat will receive pain management and oxygen support. Tests will be done to evaluate the cat’s heart and determine if there is any heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Sadly, such an episode is often the first clue for an owner that his or her cat has severe heart disease. In most cases, with time and support, the blood clot can resolve, but the cat’s heart disease will require lifelong treatment.

 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Cats and kittens can experience a variety of upper respiratory diseases caused by a combination of bacteria or viruses. An upper respiratory infections, or URI, can cause sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, lack of appetite, and fever. In severe cases, it can cause ulcers in the mouth, on the tongue, and on the eyes. More often than not, severe cases are seen in cats that have recently been in multiple-cat environments, such as shelters. Small kittens, or kittens struggling to thrive, are also easily infected and may develop more severe complications, such as low blood sugar.

 

Sudden Blindness

A sudden loss of vision is most likely to occur in an older cat. The most common cause is increased blood pressure (hypertension), which may be due to changes in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or kidney disease. There are some cats that appear to have hypertension with no other underlying disease.

 

Sudden blindness should be treated as an emergency and your veterinarian will measure your cat’s blood pressure, check blood tests, and start medications to lower the pressure and restore vision.

 

If you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, whether he or she loses vision or not, you should consider this an emergency have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

 

 

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary-related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at cathealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.

 

 

SOURCE: http://www.cathealth.com/safety/top-ten-emergencies-in-cats

Brown Dog Tick nymphs under the microscope at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. They look like crabs without pincers and have six legs.

Monsters Within

By | Disease and Medicine

MONSTERS WITHIN – – – Pet Parasites in San Tan Valley, Arizona.

Any dog or cat in San Tan Valley could easily be harboring Monsters within its body and we may not know it. These Monsters are the parasites that can afflict our pets. Under the microscope, they look as bad or worse than the monsters that Hollywood dreams up. Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic tests for, diagnoses or treats parasites in cats and dogs daily. Commonly encountered parasites in San Tan Valley include:

  • mites in the skin and ears
  • ticks and fleas in and on the skin of the pet.
  • worms and protozoans (one celled animals) in the gastrointestinal tract
  • heartworms in the blood vessels and heart
Demodectes mite on a skin scraping from a dog. High power under the microscope Cigar shaped with legs and thick tail. Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic in San Tan Valley.

Demodectes mite on a skin scraping from a dog at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. High power

Mange mites (Demodectes)

Can cause areas of the skin to lose hair and the skin to become red and scaly. Sometimes they can cause “itchiness”. They are a consideration in almost any skin abnormality.

 

 

Ear mites

Common finding in outdoor cats and some dogs. They cause ear infections, scratching and head shaking

 

Brown Dog Tick nymphs under the microscope at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. They look like crabs without pincers and have six legs.

Brown Dog Tick nymphs under the microscope at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. Taken from a dog in San Tan Valley.

 

Brown Dog Ticks

Suck the blood of its host and transmit other diseases like Tick Fever. Tick Fever can affect the dog in many ways, including just “not acting right”, lethargy, eating less and sudden bleeding episodes.

 

 

 

Front end of this flea looks like a monster under the microscope at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic

Flea taken from a cat at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic in San Tan Valley. Low power under the microscope.

Fleas

 

Occasionally seen on cats or dogs, but our dry climate does not allow them to multiply as easily as in other areas of the country.
Unless an owner uses “swamp cooling” they are easily handled once identified.

 

 

 

Intestinal parasites

The various worms and protozoans of dogs and cats can effect the eating, weight, activity level and stool consistency. Some can even be transmitted to people from the pet.

 

Heartworms

Heartworm Positive Snap Test

Positive heartworm test at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

The staff at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic diagnoses a number of heartworm cases each year.  Only half of these heartworm cases receive proper treatment because of the cost and involved treatment protocol. These pets can suffer from decreased energy and activity caused by lung and heart damage. Eventually it can kill the dog.

 

 

 

 

 

Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic uses thorough examinations, microscopy, stool parasite screening and blood testing to detect these monsters in our pets. They can be treated and preventive measures taken once identified.

Our goal is to keep the pets of San Tan Valley healthy and happy so they and their owners can enjoy the special bond that develops between people and their pets.

For more information, visit the Pet Health tab of this website or call or text us at 480-987-4555

Contact Us

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